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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
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Pamela Burdine
(800) 728-7228(800) 728-7228, x5839
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100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

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Six Month report of Ongoing Haiti Earthquake Response

July 2010

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has received approximately $10 million in donations for responding to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. PDA anticipates programming for three to five years with this funding, but, that is based on identified needs and the capacity of actually meeting the needs. We have spent or committed approximately $4 million, and PDA will continue to work with ecumenical and local partners on the following initiatives:

  • Repairing/building permanent housing
  • Supporting agricultural sustainability
  • Managing spontaneous camps of displaced people
  • Addressing the needs of vulnerable children
  • Empowering people with disabilities
  • Providing medical support

1. Provide housing solutions – support for house repair and host family home expansion

Initial government plans to relocate huge numbers of families in new cities outside of Port-au-Prince have been frustrated by land ownership issues and costs. In response, PDA will work with Haitian partners and ACT Alliance members to focus on helping families where they are.

Because most Haitians were tenants before the earthquake, few have their own place to return to. As possible, PDA will support:

  1. Permanent house repair — repair of damaged houses that can be made habitable and safe with minor work. This avoids the stress of relocation of displacement.
  2. Expansion of host housing — expansion of the homes of families hosting displaced family members, to create a permanent livable situation. Adding bedrooms and latrines to meet Sphere standards will promote family unity and prevent conflict.

Seed distribution is included in one of the initiatives. Photo by Maria Halava, ACT Alliance.

2. Strengthen and expand farmer cooperatives

Working with the Presbyterian Hunger Program and the Joining Hands Against Hunger initiatives, PDA is helping the co-ops provide their members with agricultural necessities like seeds, tools and fertilizers and also helping to provide appropriate training and technical assistance.

3. Provide basic services and transitional support to two spontaneous encampments

In cooperation with Church World Service and ACT Alliance partners Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas and Christian Aid, PDA is serving two spontaneous camps of displaced people. These camps, in Fonds Parisien and Ganthier, near the border with Dominican Republic, were without any assistance until these partners stepped in. Together we provide food, water and shelter materials meeting Sphere standards. PDA will continue to support these needs, in addition to assisting with leadership formation, community organizing and temporary shelter solutions.

4. Rebuild and expand local capacity to provide services for children and youth

With support from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in cooperation with the ACT Alliance, five of the largest schools in the areas of Léogâne, Grand Goave and Petit Goave began operating in mid-May.

In école Saint-Esprit, seven tents put up in the school playground are hosting several hundred students from kindergarten to secondary school. In that school before the earthquake, there were approximately 600-700 students. Some people have moved away from the area, and some students are still afraid of coming back to school

The aim of our local partners and co-members of the ACT Alliance is to have all the 30 target schools fully operational with access to clean drinking water, sanitation facilities and a school feeding program within the next six months. After this period, the activities will shift towards permanent reconstruction.

To help with the emotional and psychosocial support activities for children, ACT members have been working with a Brazilian organization that has worked with children in this area for years in the art of Capoeira.

Capoeira sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, tricks and extensive use of sweeps and kicks. Capoeira can help children get in touch with their emotions and learn to control them. Since the earthquake, capoeira has become a tool for mental recovery and a part of the relief work.

In cooperation with Church World Service (CWS) and local partner FOPJ (Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice) PDA is also helping some of the most vulnerable Haitian children, including restavek children (domestic servants), former gang members and teenage mothers.

Some of that assistance includes:

  • Provision of educational, vocational training, life skills and emotional support services to children, teenage mothers and former gang members.
  • A pilot “Family Reintegration Project” aimed at reuniting restavek children sent to work as domestic servants in Port-au-Prince with their families in rural areas.

5. Provide services to people with disabilities and their families in metropolitan Port-au-Prince.

In the chaos of the earthquake and the ensuing struggle for survival and resources, people with disabilities are some of the most at-risk members of the community. They face greater challenges in adapting to new living conditions, such as tent cities, and have difficulty accessing relief assistance.

PDA, working in cooperation with ecumenical partner CWS and Service Chretien d´Haiti, with technical support from Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network and the Cuban Council of Churches, is supporting 1,200 people with disabilities and their families. Beneficiaries are referred to available services, participate in emotional recovery activities, and can receive counseling to address trauma caused by the earthquake and the challenge of adapting to new realities. The program serves people in the six regions of Port-au-Prince and is done in close coordination with the Government of Haiti Secretary of State for the Inclusion of Disabled People, as well as other local and international organizations. Between 10 and 20 percent of beneficiaries became disabled due to the earthquake.

6. Provide support for medical care and services

PDA is working with Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) to help our longtime mission partner Hospital St. Croix and the related Nursing School. The hospital is currently operating on an outpatient basis. The hospital building which housed the laboratory, pharmacy, emergency room, operating theaters, and outpatient treatment rooms, was heavily damaged during the January earthquake and has been condemned by the Haitian building inspectors. The guesthouse, apartment building for resident staff, and administrative block were destroyed by the earthquake, along with much of the security wall around the hospital.

MBF is working with their donors to help rebuild the one-story building and also to replace the guesthouse, administrative block, and apartment block. Funds from PDA are being used for relief and development work, to repair the security wall at the hospital (this is almost complete), to replace the plumbing and electrical systems in the three-story part of the hospital, to purchase a new generator for the hospital, and also helping with the nursing school.

The nursing school is operating, and the damage to its facilities was minimal, with destruction of their security wall, water tank, and generator. The wall is being repaired, a new water tank is under construction, and the generator either has been ordered or is in the process of being ordered.

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Upcoming Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Events

PHP Advisory Committee

March 30 - April 1, 2014

Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory Committee meets March 30 - April 1, 2014, in New Orleans, LA, in conjunction with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Advisory Committee and Self-Development of People Steering Committee.

PDA Advisory Committee

March 30 - April 1, 2014

In a One Great Hour of Sharing Joint Meeting, The PDA Advisory Committee will meet in conjunction with PHP Advisory Committee and the SDOP Steering Committee March 30 – April 1 at the Omni Royal Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana. Discussions will include the work and vision of each department, long term Presbyterian involvement, issues and generative thinking.  A mission site tour will be made, followed individual committee meetings, and PHP will visit grant partner, Latino Farmer’s Cooperative of Louisiana.

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