Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Coordinator Randy Ackley has recorded a video message for Presbyterians, thanking them for their support for PDA’s relief efforts in Haiti and outlining the next steps in the PC(USA)’s response to the devastating earthquake that killed more than 100,000 Haitians on Jan. 12.
The video was accompanied by an updated PDA “situation report” on the disaster and PDA’s response to date.
The video link and full text of the report from PDA:
By now most of the world knows of the terrible earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In the wake of this great human tragedy, we are grateful for the outpouring of so many expressions of care and generosity from Presbyterians everywhere. Because of your quick response, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) was able to double its commitment of funds to provide immediate aid those first few days following the quake. Your gifts were put to effective and strategic work in coordinated efforts with our international and ecumenical partners, Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance and Church World Service (CSW). The first phase of response included search and rescue teams, food and water distribution sites, and medical care for the injured. There is still much work to be done.
One week later, following a major aftershock, the death toll keeps rising. There may well be more than 100,000 fatalities. Among the dead is a long-time partner in relief efforts, Sam Dixon, executive director of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Our hearts are heavy, yet inspired by the daring and faithful service of so many people. Despite the overwhelming circumstances and even threat of personal danger, God’s love is made incarnate by the courageous and compassionate work of God’s people.
PDA staff member Carlos Cardenas reports from Port-au-Prince that shortages of fuel and transportation create extra challenges to the already overwhelming challenge of receiving and delivering food, water, and medical supplies.
Jean Zaché Duracin, who leads the PC(USA)’s partner church in Haiti, is living in a tent city in Port-au-Prince. Duracin, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, rejected offers to be evacuated after his home crumbled in the earthquake. He vowed to “stay with my people,” the Episcopal News Service reported. Given the extremely limed resources at the moment, the bishop urges American congregations to have patience with regard to sending large volumes of volunteers at this time. Every outside volunteer places a demand on resources, fuel, food and water that is desperately needed by the earthquake survivors right now. Those who do have a passion to serve are encouraged to register their interest so that we can contact you when the situation is stable and appropriate.
The Episcopal cathedral is gone. Schools and hospitals are destroyed. Government buildings are in ruins. With so many symbols of safety and security destroyed the people search for signs of hope. Mark Hare, PC(USA) mission co-worker to Haiti, writes:
Port au Prince has been deeply wounded. The whole country will be deeply affected. I have no answers for any of these problems. Just the reminder that I felt, again, this morning while reading the [Mission] Yearbook [for Prayer & Study], that our God is a God of hope, that despair has already been defeated, and [that] now is the time to face what has happened and to act, act out of that hope and not out of despair. I don't have any idea what that will mean. But our God is up to the task. Pray for us, that we will also be up to the task.
Yes. Our God is up to the task. Pray that we will all be up to the task.
Join Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in the relief efforts. As God’s people we are called to stand in the “GAP” — GIVE. ACT. PRAY.
Give — Financial support for relief efforts can be made online and designated to DR000064. Gifts can also be made by phone at (800) 872-3283, and checks can be mailed to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
Act — Prepare for a special worship service in your congregation using the hymn, bulletin inserts and other worship resources available from PDA. Congregations and individuals can also put together hygiene kits and baby kits to be distributed through Church World Service.
Pray — Join with others in lifting up the people of Haiti and those seeking to provide aid in this critical time. As the eyes of the world turn to Haiti, let us join our hearts in prayer.