Haiti, One Year Later: A Report from Lutheran World Relief

Jan 11, 2011, 16:17 ET from Lutheran World Relief

BALTIMORE, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A year after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) continues its long-term efforts to assist earthquake-affected communities.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110111/DC28639 )

"Thanks to LWR's generous supporters, LWR has raised more than $7 million for Haiti's long-term recovery," says John Nunes, LWR's president and CEO. "Because of this support, LWR has committed to working in Haiti for at least five years to help communities recover and move forward."

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, LWR responded to critical needs in partnership with the ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance and other local partners, providing $1.1 million for food, water and shelter in and around Port-au-Prince and other heavily affected areas. LWR also responded by sending Quilts and Kits to Haiti. Quilts and Kits assembled and donated by congregations across the United States are a hallmark of LWR's ministry. As of December 2010, LWR had shipped a total of 77,585 health kits, 35,700 school kits, and 25,545 quilts, 17,500 tarps and 1,500 layettes to Haiti.  

Long-term recovery in Haiti has been challenging, with the migration of approximately 600,000 people from the capital city to rural communities and with additional crises, like the recent cholera outbreak and Hurricane Tomas. LWR also supported the ACT response to Hurricane Tomas and continues to respond to the cholera outbreak. With expertise and experience in rural development, and a 15-year history working in rural Haiti, LWR is focusing its long-term rehabilitation efforts on addressing the endemic poverty that makes communities more vulnerable to the impact of disasters.

LWR is working with two local partners, World Neighbors and Partnership for Local Development (PLD), to help strengthen the rural communities that took in approximately 600,000 people who fled the capital city of Port-au-Prince after the earthquake.

"These are communities that were already impoverished. Their resources were already very limited," said Carolyn Barker-Villena, LWR's senior program manager for Latin America. "Of course they were willing to take people in and do what they could to help, but it puts a strain on resources. These rural areas had needs before the quake, and those needs are even more prominent now. That's what LWR is working to address."

LWR and partners have provided nutrition, health and hygiene training to people, including internally displaced persons, and worked to ensure adequate year-round food supply.

Through cash-for-work programs, LWR and partners are helping people earn income by repairing roads, improving farms and building latrines and community water filters. LWR also helped open 12 community stores in remote areas of Haiti to provide subsidized basic foods, seeds and other essential supplies to farmers.

In October, after the outbreak of cholera, a potentially fatal intestinal infection, LWR responded by partnering with IMA World Health to distribute medical supplies to hospitals and local health centers, water filters to schools, and oral rehydration salts, soap, and water treatment tablets to vulnerable populations.

Haiti's recovery will take time, and LWR is committed to walking with the people of Haiti as they rebuild their lives and pave their path for future.

"Looking to the future," adds Nunes, "LWR seeks to work with partners to invest in programs that move beyond disaster relief to tackle the root causes of poverty and help communities become stronger than they were before."

For more information on LWR's work in Haiti, please visit lwr.org/haiti.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), individuals and parish groups in international relief, development, advocacy and social responsibility.

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John Arthur Nunes


SOURCE Lutheran World Relief