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Relief agency responds to Haiti, Dominican Republic floods

 


Relief agency responds to Haiti, Dominican Republic floods

 

June 1, 2004    

 

By Linda Beher*

 

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Flooding has displaced at least 11,200 families in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Committee on Relief is providing emergency assistance in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where floodwaters and mudslides have killed about 2,000 people.

 

Aid workers are calling the devastation in late May one of the worst natural disasters in Caribbean history. The inaccessibility of the affected areas makes an accurate toll difficult, but flooding has displaced at least 11,200 families in both nations.

           

The United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided emergency grants and supplies, but the agency anticipates extensive rebuilding and recovery, according to the Rev. Kristin L. Sachen, international disaster response executive.

           

The Iglesia Evangelica Dominica is receiving a $10,000 grant to enable immediate response in Jimani and Jaquimeyes, where rivers of mud and debris swept away houses and buried residents under tons of rock and gravel.

“Haitians and Dominicans, all children of God, are suffering greatly,” wrote Alejandro Figueroa, an official of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominica.

           

UMCOR workers are assembling a 40-foot container of health kits, soap, school kits, layettes and ready-to-eat meals for shipment in early June. Value of the shipment is around $500,000.

In a third aid effort, the relief agency has sent funds to Action by Churches Together, an international consortium of faith-based aid organizations working in the Fond Verettes area of Haiti. There, floodwaters rose from a previously dry riverbed and swept through the streets, washing away buildings and polluting the springs that provide drinking water. ACT partners will supply water treatment, food and medical assistance.

           

“We are sick with grief,” said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, in a May 28 statement. UMCOR is a unit of the board. “The loss of so many lives in the floods sends us to our knees in prayers for the victims; it compels us quickly to offer material assistance in the name of Jesus Christ.”

He appealed to United Methodists to collect offerings for the flood victims during their upcoming annual (regional) conference sessions.

           

Donations can be made to UMCOR Emergency Advance No. #410200, “Dominican Republic/Haiti Flood Relief,” and dropped in church collection plates or mailed to UMCOR at 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Church members also can contribute health kits, school kits and layettes. For more information on requirements for kits, or to make a credit-card donation, call (800) 554-8583.

 

*Beher is communications director for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

 

 

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