Heartache, Miracles Mark Relief Efforts in Haiti

by | Jan 19, 2010 | Charisma Archive

At
4:53 p.m.—the moment when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake turned Haiti upside down a
week ago Tuesday—hundreds of Christians spent a minute praying for survivors,
churches and relief teams on the ground in Port-au-Prince.

The
weekly One Minute for Haiti prayer campaign, sponsored by World Relief,
launched Tuesday and is one of dozens of ways Christians are providing spiritual
as well as humanitarian support in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that
officials say has left at least 70,000 dead. 

Like
other aid organizations working in Port-au-Prince near the epicenter of the
earthquake, World Relief is helping to provide food, medical care and clean
water to survivors.

Love
a Child
, which also runs an orphange, church and Jesus Healing Center at its base in Fond
Parisien, roughly 55 miles from Port-au-Prince, will become the site of a U.N. medical base
staffed by doctors from around the world. Twenty physicians are expected to
arrive Wednesday.

“The
Dominican Republic is stuck with thousands and thousands of homeless,
critically wounded Haitians,” Sherry Burnette, who founded the outreach with
her husband, Bobby, wrote on the ministry’s Web site Tuesday. “There are
not enough doctors to do the surgeries, and there are not enough secure
locations. We have it all right here. We will have such a huge opportunity to
help the Haitian people-more than ever.”

Terry
W. Snow, national
director for Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Haiti, said earthquake survivors from
Port-au-Prince were seeking refuge at churches 50 miles away in St. Marc, giving
Christians there an opportunity to “demonstrate the power of the love of God.”

“There
is a deep stirring within many Haitians, especially amongst our staff,” Snow
said last week. “Our Haitian staff are proclaiming it is time for change.”

Convoy
of Hope
, a humanitarian organization affiliated with the Assemblies of God,
provided 100,000 meals Sunday in six separate locations. But the ministry said
food supplies being used to serve earthquake survivors as well as Convoy of
Hope’s ongoing feeding initiative in Haiti are running low.

“The
situation regarding food and water remains dire,” said Kevin Rose, Haiti
director for Convoy of Hope, in an update on the ministry’s Web site. “The lack
of fuel and security issues has made it very difficult to move food around the
city. But through our network of partners we are getting food into some of the
most desperate places.”

Some 400,000 pounds of food, water and supplies were to be sent to Haiti this week, Assemblies of God News reported, with another 200,000 meals scheduled to be flown in Wednesday afternoon.

As
relief and recovery efforts went into the eighth day, Haitian survivors became
more anxious for food and water, scrambling for supplies dropped by military
planes. Security forces were working Tuesday to control looters and gangs that
had been swarming through the streets, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Reporter
Kirk Noonan, who is on the ground with Convoy of Hope, said that on Delmas, one
of the main roads near the worst-hit areas of Port-au-Prince, the team had to
slow their truck because a throng of people was gathered around the bodies of
two young men lying in the street. “Both have their hands tied behind their
backs and have been executed for reasons unknown,” he wrote.

David
Darg, who is working in Haiti with Operation Blessing International, said Port-au-Prince’s
narrow streets are strewn with the wreckage of crushed cars and collapsed
buildings. Desperate crowds flocked around their vehicle, though the team was
transporting only medical supplies.

“When
we did stop, crowds gathered around us,” Darg wrote in a blog posting Monday.
“Some were banging on the window and gesturing they were hungry. A few tried to
grab at the doctors’ clothing through the window.”

Survivors
live amid the stench of death in makeshift camps. A soccer stadium has become
the temporary home to 2,000 quake victims and the site of a makeshift clinic
run by Operation Blessing in partnership with a medical team from Israel called
IsraAid. 

“It
seems like every time we exit the airport there are more and more people
gathered outside the gates desperate for help,” Darg wrote.

Survivor
Gina Jean, who was pulled from the rubble of her home shortly after the quake
hit, has been living with her two young children on a patch of ground, with
strung-up bed sheets and a washing line hung with clothes their only protection
from the sun, according to a report from World Vision. “It is shameful for
my children to have to live like this,” she said.

Amid
the tragic conditions are Christians working in the nation who say they have
been witnessing miracles. Snow of YWAM Haiti said on Sunday a YWAM team rescued
a woman and her 4-month-old baby who were pinned beneath a building. The two
are in stable condition at a medical facility.

In another instance, a teenage girl was pulled from the
rubble and brought to Operation Blessing’s medical team. Her body was limp, and
she was thought to be dead.

“She
reeked of death, having been buried next to other bodies that were killed
instantly in the quake,” Darg wrote. “We rushed her to the Israeli hospital
where she underwent surgery, and now, five days after the earthquake, she is in
stable condition.

“Seeing this miraculous recovery and life saved
before my eyes was one of the most profound moments of my life,” he continued.
“Just this one life saved has made all the lost sleep, the sweat, the struggle
to get here and any other adversity seem more than worthwhile.”

The devastation in Haiti has prompted a huge global response. The U.N. reported that more than $1.2 billion in aid funding had been pledged as of Tuesday, according to AFP.

For a list of ministries assisting with disaster relief in Haiti, click here.

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