News Articles

Haiti catastrophe: an overview

DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–A succinct recap of the catastrophic Haiti earthquake and the disaster relief challenge that lies ahead has been framed by a state Baptist DR coordinator in the Midwest.

Ty Berry, disaster relief coordinator for the Baptist Convention of Iowa, circulated the list to the state’s Baptists Jan. 13, the day after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.

Berry wrote:

“What we know as of 1-13-10

* Massive destruction

* Catastrophic conditions apply to all people and volunteers.

* Extreme poverty

* Fast fact sheet [for potential Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers] with what to bring, passport, shoes, shots, will be sent ASAP.

* 200,000 or more have been killed (earliest estimate — from government)

* 100,000’s are injured.

* Airport (main one and a cargo field) are presently closed and roads to them

* Security is a major issue

* Southern Baptist have been ask to make long term commitments (as a whole), but individuals can ebb and flow their time with proper credentials.

* Many children homeless

* Chaplains will be needed

* Nursing groups are forming

* SBC doctor’s fellowship is preparing to respond.

* Water is a major issue (we are sending water purification units)

* Need fly-away kitchens (we have 9 kitchens committed presently.

* VOAD groups [National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster] Samaritan’s Purse, Convoy of Hope and many other “faith-based” groups like SBC are working the system to move into response.

* Florida Baptist Convention works with 900 churches in Haiti, 70 of those churches are in Port-au-Prince.

* We have conference calls established for the next several days with all agencies. I will try to send updates ASAP.

* Some of our Iowa churches work with missionaries there and have made mission trips there.”

Berry, who also is the state’s evangelism and pastoral care director, told Baptist Press disaster relief efforts for Haiti are “still a work in progress” for immediate needs on the Caribbean island and for “the long haul” to provide a Christ-based disaster relief response.

He said he hopes his list helps Baptists have something “to pray over and make ourselves ready.”

Berry also noted in his e-mail to Iowa Baptists that, “Presently, in-kind donations are not needed. Money donations are needed now.” He said Baptists in Iowa are encouraged to make contributions to disaster relief through their local churches.

“I ask you to pray for all Haiti and the many volunteers that will respond over the next several months,” Berry wrote in his Jan. 13 e-mail.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. Contributions for Southern Baptist Haiti disaster relief can be made online at IMB.org, through local SBC churches or state conventions or by mail to “Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief,” International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230. All funds received for this purpose will go to relief efforts; none will be used for administrative costs.