Thank you everyone who has taken part in the immediate response to aid the millions affected by the earthquake! Our efforts have now processed over $120,000 in donations and have sent over 10 trucks full of supplies from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. Our shipments have included nearly 50 tons of food and supplies—and will jump to 100 tons this weekend. We have delivered fuel to PAP five times, including a midnight shipment of helicopter fuel to Samaritan’s Purse last night. We have also transported hundreds of refugees out of PAP. Interestingly, this in not really the effort of a single organization (FIM, InnerCHANGE, Kids Alive, and Samaritan’s Purse are all sort-of working together to make this possible). There is basically no bureaucracy or red-tape. Our entire front-line speaks either Creole, Spanish or French. We have a distribution team of 3 in Port-au-Prince, a logistics team of 10 in Santiago, D.R., and an interface team of over 10 in Miami and elsewhere in the US, along with hundreds of Dominicans and Haitians working together to move aid items quickly—most of us met for the first time last week. Our donor base includes scores of people and churches we’ve never met before. Our supply line is an organic, grassroots effort that has gained momentum and become strong because of our relationships on the ground. Our ”task force” is not comprised of foreign professionals that have come to fix things and help, rather, we have become a network of people like: Jose, our fuel supplier; Jean-Baptist and Luis, truck drivers; Claude, at our transshipment warehouse—the list goes on and on and on. Most of us live here on the island; we’re invested. In years to come, these relationships will be key to healing and recovery. In the last few days God has exponentially increased our capacity to help and we ask that you continue to pray for us to be diligent and faithful to the opportunity to serve others. I got an e-mail from Tim Nelson—working in Honduras, now 10 years after Hurricane Mitch; and he, along with some guys here who live in post-Katrina New Orleans, have been a steady reminder of how such calamity can swing doors wide open to Gospel ministry for years to come.
Many have asked about flying in to help. Depending on how long our supply line services are needed, we will need several waves of helpers. The skills most needed on our end are: native Spanish and Creole speakers, accountants, computer “geeks”, scroungers and couriers—most importantly, flexible people who work well in extreme and unusual circumstances. E-mail Elaina Vazquez at email@example.com for more details. If you, or your church, is interested in being involved in long-term discipleship and sustainable development, please contact us so we can dialog further when the time becomes appropriate. This will be a critical aspect of Haiti’s future.
As alluded to above, one of the many ripple-effects is refugees leaving PAP by the tens-of-thousands. This past week, while at my house in Fort-Liberte, I met with the mayor and city council on several occasions. The mayor told me that the town has taken in 1400 refugees, and this is expected to surge to possibly 5000. Fort-Liberte needs help. Neighbors have told me that family and friends are showing up at their doors with nowhere else to go. I feel this is a critical juncture in which how we respond now will open up opportunities for the rest of our life in Haiti. Our mayor, Ing. Moise Charles-Pierre, came to my house and gave me a list of food that is needed immediately. The list includes staple items: flour, rice, beans, oil, spaghetti, dried fish, oatmeal, sugar, milk, bedding and soap. Based on our estimates, his request will cost around US$50,000. We would love to provide a significant amount of assistance (we don’t have to provide all of it) by next week if possible. Consider giving toward this second-wave of need at www.fim.org. For donations of over $5000, please contact Dick Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can assist you in wiring money directly to our ECCU account and notate it correctly.
Thanks again! It’s far from over.