Already considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks left a death toll of approximately 250,000. The tent cities scattered throughout Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, remain the only housing option for nearly a million homeless and displaced persons. Not only houses but schools and churches were leveled and entire neighborhoods continue to dig out from under piles of rubble. These troubles have since been further compounded by a cholera outbreak that killed thousands and turmoil surrounding the presidential election.
World Relief had already established programs in Haiti having worked there for 19 years. When World Relief began working in the Port-au-Prince slums in 1996, most mothers did not have an option for clinical care for their children. The church-based community care program offered immunizations and nutritional support in the communities. Today, more than 4,000 mothers and children benefit from our health programs.
In 1999, the UN asked World Relief to bring together Protestant denominations, missions, non-governmental organizations and theological institutions, and to create a resolution on HIV/AIDS. Pastors and their congregations have learned the truth about AIDS and been trained to offer practical support for those living with the disease and in ways to stop its deadly spread. Today we work with more than 500 churches across the country to respond to AIDS through youth abstinence education, caring for those who are sick and reaching out to 10,000 orphans in the community.
After the earthquake, World Relief responded with potable water, food, emergency kits, tarps, and support groups. Our network of churches provided the perfect infrastructure to help the most vulnerable in the surrounding communities.
World Relief Haiti under the direction of John O’Kelley, Country Director, has extended its reach. We are continuing to support those impacted by HIV/AIDS, mother and child health, orphans and the most vulnerable through our church networks. Now, we are moving forward with an agricultural plan that can impact hundreds of farmers for generations. At the same time, with the help of the church worldwide, we are rebuilding homes, schools, and water systems in the hardest hit communities. By God’s grace and your help, World Relief is restoring hope in Haiti.