Situation Report
Originally published
SITUATION: The global humanitarian effort, which includes the work of Church World Service, to respond to Haiti's devastating earthquake faces enormous challenges, given difficult logistics, collapsed infrastructure and rising tensions.

Looting has been reported in parts of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, and the problems with infrastructure are slowing the delivery of assistance, authorities said. Power remains out; food supplies are dwindling; and telecommunications are, as The New York Times reported, "rarely functioning. Most medical facilities had been severely damaged, if not leveled."

Initial estimates of those who died, which had originally been estimated at 100,000 or even higher, were reduced by the Haitian Red Cross at about 45,000 to 50,000, though those estimates remained extremely tentative, the Times reported.


A recap and update on the CWS response:

++ CWS on Jan. 13 issued a $200,000 appeal (#6762); the appeal will be updated and revised in coming days.

++ Church World Service is sending funds to local partners in Haiti as it continues to assess the situation; partner SSID in Dominican Republic is sending pre-positioned CWS Kits and Blankets from its warehouse in the capital of Santo Domingo to Haiti; further details on those shipments will be available shortly.

++ In its response, CWS will be working with fellow members of the ACT Alliance and local partners in Haiti. These include ACT Alliance members Christian Aid and the Lutheran World Federation, and local partners Service Chretien dHaiti, SKDE and the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice (EFPJ)

++ Don Tatlock, CWS Latin America and Caribbean program manager, is coordinating CWS efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; Tatlock is in the DR now and expects to travel to Haiti shortly.

++ CWS-supported efforts will include the construction of temporary water systems, providing water purification materials, tents and food packages. Additional efforts will be announced once assessments are completed.

++ There is no further information on EFPJ's House of Hope, a day school CWS supports in Port au Prince. Preliminary information indicates the school building was damaged. Christian Aid colleagues report their office was severely damaged.

++ CWS partners in the Dominican Republic have been contacted and accounted for. The Cuban Council of Churches is collaborating with CWSs relief efforts by temporarily seconding mission personnel trained to serve and work with people with disabilities and their families. The missionaries have been working in Port-Au-Prince with CWS partner Service Chretien dHaiti and local churches since 2007.

++ Church World Service is pressing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and members of Congress to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians, allowing them to remain in the United States for at least 18 months as part of a comprehensive response to the current humanitarian crisis. Through the CWS Speak Out and a Refugee Council USA members letter, CWS notes that Haiti*s current circumstances fall well within the criteria for granting TPS, since it may be granted when requested by a foreign state that temporarily cannot handle the return (e.g. by deportation) of nationals due to an environmental disaster. TPS has been granted in similar situations to nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and to Salvadorans after an earthquake in 2001.

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support the CWS emergency appeal may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Please designate: Haiti Earthquake, Appeal Number #6762

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit www.churchworldservice.org or c all the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151

Program Director: dderr@churchworldservice.org