Haiti

ACT workers missing in Haiti

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ACT Alliance staff members in Haiti are unaccounted for, others are scrambling to find loved ones, and still others are in shock after surviving building collapses.

Although communications from the capital Port-au-Prince is scant, ACT members working in the country and through partners are still worried about the fate of their colleagues.

"One of our staff was found alive but wounded and two are still missing," Dick Loendersloot of ACT member ICCO said in a phone conference of ACT members this evening. "People still don't know if their families are okay and are out looking for them," Nigel Timmins of Christian Aid said.

Christian Aid offices were destroyed in the earthquake but no-one was hurt.

ACT members were this evening able to share by teleconference what little information is getting out of the country and began to prepare a coordinated emergency response. Those on the group call described the situation as "very chaotic" and a disaster of "huge dimensions".

Information from Port-au-Prince remains scant, as phone lines are down. What is clear is that a major humanitarian situation has arisen following the 7.0 magnitude quake and ACT members in and out of the country have begun responding.

ACT reports that slum areas have been as badly affected as built-up residential areas. Looting has already started, with fears the security situation will worsen. The city is ill-equipped to handle the massive search and rescue operation required.

Also concerning ACT is the fate of people in outlying and remote areas of Port-au-Prince. One ACT member feared that coverage of the disaster in Port-au-Prince might divert attention from other pressing areas.

ACT staff on the ground are carrying out assessments of damage and the needs of survivors. While international aid is being flown in, ACT has been working on the ground from the moment the earthquake occurred. ACT is planning to send a rapid support team of at least a response coordinator, a communicator, two water and sanitation experts and a finance expert. ACT members are also preparing to send water and sanitation materials, hygiene kits, and psychosocial workers to the devastated area.

ACT members working in Haiti are:

Christian Aid

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe - DKH

Lutheran World Federation - LWF

Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation - ICCO