UMCOR grants are helping Haitians recover from the earthquake that struck in August 2021. Your dollars have provided food relief, equipment for health care facilities, and clean water.
CHRISTIE R. HOUSE
General Board of Global Ministries/UMCOR
Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) continue efforts to help Haitians recover from the August 14, 2021, earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace, which dumped 10 inches of rain on Haiti just two days later. According to UNICEF, more than 2,200 people died in the magnitude 7.2 earthquake and more than 12,000 were injured. The infrastructure loss, with 70% of schools damaged or destroyed and nearly 60 health facilities inoperable, is making recovery long and difficult.
UMCOR has released a series of grants since August 2021 to assist with relief and recovery efforts, working with partners inside the country.
The most recent grant, which targets food insecurity, provides emergency food rations to an estimated 5,000 or more people affected by the earthquake. Nearly six months after the quake, people are still living in tents outside their destroyed homes and 26,000 continue to live in government shelters. This grant assists the Methodist Church in Haiti (EMH “Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti” of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas) to use its network of local and village churches in regional circuits as distribution points for food distributions in 13 of the most affected areas of the country. Methodist circuit superintendents coordinate the project.
Your gifts to UMCOR International Disaster Response fund #982450 enable life-savings grants such as this. The Michigan Conference and Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti are covenant partners. Give online here.
Basic foodstuffs include rice, beans, and oil, procured in Port-au-Prince and then transported to churches participating in the food distribution project. Careful planning with local congregational stewards ensures that the rations are unloaded in secure places in each circuit. The circuit superintendents coordinate with local congregations and pastors for pick-up and distribution. EMH estimates this project will reach 1,140 households (about 5,000 individuals).
Another recent grant approached food security in a different way by focusing on street vendors who lost their equipment and supplies in the quake. RADIKAL, a partner in Camp-Perrín, has been working to improve food security through microenterprise. Before the quake, RADIKAL had developed a network of street vendors, which the organization trained in sanitation measures and providing quality food at affordable prices, but many lost their businesses after the quake. This grant procures clean cookstoves, tents, tables, and cooking utensils to help the recovery of 100 vendors.
At this time, many Haitian households cannot afford groceries for the home, but they have enough to purchase food from street vendors to feed their families. Having street vendors up and running will help the vendors and increase food security for earthquake survivors living on little income.
Earlier grants in 2021 focused on emergency food relief, equipping health care facilities, supplying clean water, and working with partners who distributed cash grants to help families with their most urgent needs.
In late 2021, a large fire swept through Port-au-Prince, affecting about 200 homes in the area of the Methodist New College Bird. An emergency grant to EMH has helped to provide food and assist a high school in the area to open a kitchen to feed survivors.
~Editor’s Notes with news from Mizak Haiti and Haitian Assets for Peace International (HAPI): No one wants to travel on the road between Mizak and the city as it is still gang-occupied. Prices still climbing. HAPI staff acknowledge that more people need “counsel” or encouragement because of the depression they feel. No new jobs are being created with no international community or investors so the situation is bleak. HAPI received UMCOR funds on February 1, 2022 for equipment and facility maintenance. HAPI is an EngageMI Ministry Partner.
ACT Alliance is a global faith-based coalition organized in national and regional forums operating in more than 120 countries. Through its more than 140 members, ACT works on humanitarian aid, gender and climate justice, migration and displacement, and peace and security to support local communities. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is a member of the ACT Alliance.