Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Storms compound misery in Haiti.

Brother Klebert Exceus paints a grim picture of life in Haiti: "The local people are saying that anything God can do for them is ‘too good.’... Many think it would be better to die than to live because what they are doing is not truly living."

He described the situation further:
  • At a school with 200 children and three teachers, the students spend five hours a day in class with no food or water.

  • A person who sells things in the local market earns about $25 each year.

  • Since the hurricanes, 10 percent of the population in the target area has been forced to beg for a living.

  • Families eat once a day, and depend on what they grow in their gardens.

  • Children sleep on dirt floors on mats made from banana leaves.

  • A typical small house has two rooms for a family (average size seven members).

  • Women walk three kilometers to fetch a bucket of water, which they carry on their heads.
Exceus, a Haitian consultant, and Jeff Boshart, Haiti Disaster Response Mission Coordinator, are doing much of the legwork and planning related to the hurricane response on behalf of Brethren Disaster Ministries.

The Brethren Disaster Ministries hurricane response includes micro-loans of $200 per person to purchase livestock. When these loans are being repaid, the recipients will provide an offspring of the animal with the money so that other people can be helped.

At the Esperance Clinic in GonaĆ­ves, doctors are preparing a proposal of needs. They lack medicine and they do not have a laboratory. Normally, the clinic receives 75-100 sick people each day at a fee of approximately $3. Since the hurricanes, the clinic is receiving 300 patients per day without charging.

Brother Klebert, accompanied by an engineer and two Brethren pastors, selected 20 homes to repair in the village of Fond Cheval, in the Mirebalais area. This will be a model plan that will serve as a guide for other similar interventions. He reported that the local government official had tried unsuccessfully to obtain help for the village from other sources, but "he believes God intervened, as the Church of the Brethren sought him out," he said.

"I’m praying that God will bless the Church of the Brethren which is helping the poor," declared Brother Klebert. "The people in Fond Cheval say God’s visible hands are supporting them."

The work of Brethren Disaster Ministries is made possible by the generosity of individuals and churches who support the Emergency Disaster Fund. Our prayer is that, through our combined efforts, more and more vulnerable people in helpless situations will be touched by heavenly grace as our vision and stewardship grow.

-- Roy Winter is executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. This article originally appeared in the "Bridges" newsletter.

Source: 3/12/2009 Newsline Special

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