“The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC)’s response to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 has impacted many more lives and garnered much more resources than anyone on CRWRC’s International Disaster Response team could have anticipated,” said Ken Little, CRWRC Senior Project Manager for International Disaster Response, on the eve of the two year anniversary of this tragic event. “The response has been broad and complex, but has always been seen through the lens of the families and communities whose lives were torn apart. God has been, and continues to be faithful.”
In the early days after the earthquake, CRWRC, and other agencies of the Christian Reformed Church, worked with their local partners under the umbrella of Sous Espwa, which means “source of hope.” Through the generous support of churches and individuals in North America, they responded to the immediate emergency needs with food assistance, water, and temporary shelter.
As the magnitude of the destruction became evident and additional funds came in from individuals, churches and organizations around the world, CRWRC quickly recognized that there was a need to add more capacity to implement its growing response. Staff and volunteers from North America were dispatched to Haiti to assist. After completing early needs assessments, it was determined that the CRWRC Disaster Response team would concentrate its efforts in Léogâne, an area that was near the epicenter of the earthquake and where there seemed to be little assistance available from other disaster response agencies.
Since then, a multifaceted ministry has been carried out. It included the distribution of tarps, emergency food, and hygiene supplies. It involved the construction of latrines, wells, and homes. It also included psycho-social counseling and the restoration of livelihoods. Litant, is a 45 year-old Haitian man. He is a single father and the recipient of the 2,500th house built by CRWRC following the earthquake.
“Our local organization in the Bas-Pere community, called the Organization of Young Progressives in Bas-Pere, advocated on my behalf and I became a recipient of a CRWRC house,” said Litant.
As with the other homes that CRWRC built in the community, Litant was required to clear the land and build the foundation for his new home. To do this, he and his daughter hauled river gravel from a great distance away. They also received some assistance from others in the community.
CRWRC Disaster Response staff in Haiti also worked closely with the municipal government of Léogâne to plan for the construction of 2,500 houses and ensure proper land ownership documentation for each family that received a house.
“I want to thank CRWRC for this wonderful house. We really like it!” said Litant.
Francky Juillet is another Haitian man and recipient of CRWRC’sprograms. He lives in Gerard-Trouin, a remote community located off the Bainet road high in the mountains above Léogâne. In 2011, his community received banana plants along with training on how best to plant and care for banana trees. This was part of CRWRC’s “Livelihood for Earthquake Affected People in Haiti” program. CRWRC also provided Francky and his community with goats and training on how to properly vaccinate and care for the animals.
“We have only the highest praise for CRWRC” said Mr. Juillet. “They promised and they delivered when so many others did not. They are people of integrity and we love working with them.”
CRWRC will wind up much of its disaster response activities in Haiti by July 2012. At that point, the Livelihood program will still continue for another 1.5 years.
“When I revisited our projects in Haiti a few weeks ago it was amazing and gratifying to see CRWRC-constructed latrines, water pumps and especially houses everywhere – 2,500 houses in fact, sheltering over 12,000 people who had lost their homes in the earthquake,” said Wayne de Jong, CRWRC Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation.
CRWRC’s Disaster Response Manager in Haiti, Willys Geffrard, agrees. “Looking around at the two-year mark, it is amazing what God has enabled us to accomplish. It demonstrates God’s faithfulness to the families of Léogâne through CRWRC.”
CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America ministering to people in need around the world with disaster response, development, and justice since 1962.
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