Hôpital Sainte Croix (Holy Cross Hospital) in Leogane, Haiti, an (Episcopal) Diocesan ministry that for decades has been a major focus of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission in Haiti, received serious damage in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Earlier reports indicated that the hospital had collapsed, but more recent information indicates that the building is still standing. However, a guesthouse and an apartment owned by the hospital were destroyed. Hospital officials believe that all hospital staff survived the earthquake.

Less than a mile away, a nursing school owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti — the PC(USA)’s partner church in the island nation — is hosting thousands of survivors who are living in tents on the campus. The faculty and students are providing medical care, but they are lacking medicine.

Sky News, an international news broadcaster based in London, filed a video report about the situation in Leogane, which included an interview with Hilda Alcindor, the nursing school dean.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance reports that food and fuel supplies are limited and there is urgent need to bring in these most essential resources at this time. PDA’s Carlos Cardenas is on the ground in Haiti with the immediate response team of the Geneva-based ecumenical ACT  Alliance, which includes the PC(USA). ACT has helped establish 15 sites for distribution of relief items. Food and clean water are a top priority.

It is estimated that 200,000 families, nearly one million people, are without homes and living out in the open air. Temporary shelter is a focus for this next week, PDA Coordinator Randy Ackley said. PDA and its partners are seeking to bring in 20,000 tents to Port-au-Prince in the next week. There are between 3,000 and 4,000 tents currently on site in Haiti.

The greatest need continues to be money. PDA has committee at least $500,000 to the short- and long-term response to the Haiti tragedy. More than $200,000 has already been sent from donations received since the quake and from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering receipts.

Contributions can be made in at least four ways:

  • Through local church channels
  • Online at the PDA Web site
  • By phone at (800) 872-3283, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) weekdays
  • By mail to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

Another way to help, PDA suggests, is by assembling “Gift of the Heart” kits for shipment and distribution to Haiti. Congregations and individuals can assembly hygiene kits and baby kits. Instructions are on the PDA Web site.

Methodists lose top disaster relief official and volunteer coordinator

The Rev. Sam Dixon, 60, head of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the humanitarian relief agency of The United Methodist Church, died before he could be rescued from the rubble of a hotel destroyed by the earthquake. Dixon was part of a group of mission and relief specialists trapped by the collapse of the Hotel Montana in Port au Prince.

The Rev. Clinton Rabb, 60, a leader in UMC's extensive mission volunteer program, died on Jan. 17 in a Florida hospital of injuries sustained when he, Dixon and the others was trapped for 55 hours in the ruins of Hotel Montana. Dixon was reportedly alive in the hotel ruins on the morning of January 15, but died before he could be rescued.

Dixon, Rabb and the Rev. James Gulley, a former missionary and now consultant to UMCOR, were at the hotel for meetings with representatives of other organizations, making plans to improve medical services in Haiti.

“Sam Dixon was a tireless servant of the church of Jesus Christ on behalf of all of us,” said Bishop Joel N. Martinez, interim general secretary of the UMC’s General Board of Global Ministries.”His death is an incalculable loss to Global Ministries, UMCOR and our worldwide ministry of relief to God's most vulnerable children.”  

Of Rabb, Martinez said: “Clint Rabb was a tough and fearless advocate for the least and most vulnerable of God’s children. He traveled the world encouraging volunteer ministry in his service on behalf of Christ and the church. He gave his life for others and we celebrate his faithful witness.”