Church World Service Responding to Devastating Haiti Quake

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NEW YORK -- In the still-chaotic aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Port au Prince, Haiti, today, humanitarian agency Church World Service reports it is sending initial funding to its local partners in the country and is prepared to provide CWS Kits and CWS Blankets to people in need.

"We're continuing to assess the situation," said the agency's Emergency Response Director Donna Derr. "CWS staff here in the U.S. and in the region are attempting to contact our longtime partners in Haiti, Service Chrétien d=ECHaiti, Christian Aid SKDE, and the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice."

Derr said preliminary information they've received indicate that EFPJ=B9s House of Hope day school in Port au Prince, which CWS supports, is damaged. "Some EFPJ staff are trying to determine the well-being of the children and other staff members, but we just don't know yet. The communications are still very difficult, very spotty."

The European agency Christian Aid, a key partner of Church World Service, has offices in Port au Prince. CWS's Derr said, "Christian Aid colleagues have reported that their office is damaged and they are still trying to reach unaccounted-for staff."

With ongoing sustainable development programs across Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Derr said CWS partners in the Dominican Republic "have been contacted and accounted for. We also contacted Cuban missionaries from our partner the Cuban Council of Churches, which works with people with disabilities in Haiti. We understand that Cuban Council staff are currently in the border city of Dajabon trying to account for a dozen of the volunteers they work with in Port Au Prince, but no reports have come in yet."

How to help:

Contributions to support Church World Service emergency response and recovery efforts may be made online, by phone (800.297.1516), or sent to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.