CBM Helps Most Vulnerable Victims of Haiti Earthquake

Jan 14, 2010, 23:59 ET from CBM

GREENVILLE, S.C., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The recent earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is having a devastating effect on some of the world's most vulnerable people – the disabled, according to Ron Nabors, CEO of CBM-US, whose U.S. headquarters are based in Greenville, S.C.

CBM (Christian Blind Mission) is the world's largest international nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for blind and disabled people living in the world's most disadvantaged societies.

"The earthquake has been especially devastating to people with disabilities," Nabors says. "In disasters like this earthquake, persons with disability are often the first to die. For those who do survive, they most likely have their wheelchairs, canes, and artificial limbs lost or demolished. They are existing in inhumane conditions with limited support from family, church, or community. They will be helpless to provide for themselves, making them highly vulnerable to the disaster's aftermath – which includes infectious diseases and malnutrition."

CBM is responding to the Haiti earthquake by sending emergency relief specialists to assess needs, meet with partner agencies, and determine immediate and long-term responses. The organization is committed to meeting immediate medical needs, while rebuilding infrastructure to meet long-term needs and ensure the human rights for those with disabilities.

"Typically, very little relief aid is accessible to those with disabilities," Nabors says. "They often fall to the end of the line for the world's limited aid response. But CBM is committed to making sure that these survivors get life-saving care."

Prior to the earthquake, CBM had 50,000 clients in Port-au-Prince. But due to the magnitude of this disaster, the number of people with permanent injuries--resulting in disability--is expected to increase dramatically. For children alone, statistics show that for every death of a child during a disaster, three are left disabled.

"Our international programs staff estimates that the number of injured children, men, and women demanding hospital services will increase 10-fold," Nabors says.

CBM has had many projects in Haiti since 1976, including five in Port-au-Prince. Two partner hospitals in Port-au-Prince include Grace Children's Hospital and the University Hospital. Presently, the damage the hospitals have suffered still is unknown.

"Our hearts go out to those affected by this devastating earthquake," Nabors says.

To make a donation to CBM's relief efforts in Haiti, call 1-800-937-2264 or visit www.cbmus.org.

About CBM:

CBM (www.cbmus.org) is the world's largest humanitarian organization devoted to helping children and adults with disability living in the poorest regions of the world. Last year, CBM assisted nearly 17 million people, funding more than 1,000 projects that liberated children and adults with disability through prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and an economic start. The organization focuses on helping those with visual, hearing, physical and mental disability and is recognized with a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org). The US headquarters for CBM is located in Greenville, S.C.