Covington Baptist Association
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
PROCLAIMING JESUS AND SERVING CHURCHES SINCE 1856!
Disaster Relief - Haiti Earthquake Response
Process launched for SBDR response to Haiti earthquake
By Mickey Noah
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, Baptist Global Response and state convention disaster relief leaders from across the United States convened via conference call Wednesday afternoon to begin preliminary planning for response to the 7.3 earthquake which devastated Haiti at 4:53 p.m. EST on Tues., Jan. 12.
According to Associated Press reports, the earthquake was the strongest quake to hit Haiti in 240 years, leaving the capital of Port-Au-Prince – 10 miles from the epicenter -- all but destroyed. The death toll is thought to be in the tens of thousands – perhaps as many as 200,000, according to the president of Haiti. Red Cross estimates that the earthquake has left three million homeless.
Florida Baptist Convention staff members are playing an early key role in the Southern Baptist disaster relief effort, according to John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer. The convention, which has had a long-term partnership with Haitian Baptists, employs six to10 native Haitian missionaries who Sullivan said will “provide information on the needs” of the Haitian people. Some 10 percent of Haitians are Baptists.
Fritz Wilson, state director of disaster relief for the Florida convention, said the convention has been involved in Haiti for 15-20 years, including the operation of a mission house compound located 17 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter. No contact has been established with the mission house since the earthquake, Wilson said.
David Brown, who directs Baptist Global Relief work in the Americas, says the major airport in Port-Au-Prince is closed, and major communications and power are out of service. Whether local roads are open is unknown at this time. Brown said the Dominican Republic may be used as a staging area for bringing in needed food and water purifications equipment for Haiti.
Brown said a BGR assessment team hopes to get into Haiti sometime in the next few days to assess the scope of the disaster and determine what the Southern Baptist response might be. Brown says there are no International Mission Board personnel based in Haiti.
Mickey Caison, NAMB’s team leader for adult volunteer mobilization team and whose staff manages the Disaster Operations Center at NAMB’s Alpharetta, Ga. offices, said that once the disaster relief assessment is completed, the immediate response will focus on food distribution, clean-up and communications.
“But the response effort will be long-term,” he said. “Right now we are calling upon all Southern Baptists to remember in prayer the people of Haiti.”