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Kinnamon: Devastation in Haiti
calls for 'unprecedented' response

New York, January 14, 2010 -- The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches is urging an "immediate and generous response" to calls for aid following the earthquake that devastated Haiti Tuesday.

"The destruction around Port-au-Prince is so massive it can't yet be measured," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon. "What is clear is that the toll in lives and property will go beyond our ability to comprehend it. The situation has few precedents in our lifetimes, and our response to it must also be unprecedented."

Kinnamon called upon the 45-million members of congregations related to NCC member communions to act immediately to support the people of Haiti and relief organizations that are sending workers, food and water, clothing, and other necessities to Haiti.

He cited contributions to Church World Service, the NCC's sister relief organization and historic partner, as a direct way of helping the people of Haiti.

"We must pray for the people of Haiti, hundreds of thousands of whom are grieving the loss of loved ones, wandering dazed and homeless and hungry," Kinnamon said. "May our loving God be a powerful presence in their lives. Tragedies like this one are impossible to understand, and we need to remind ourselves that God is also shedding tears at the pain and suffering of God's children in Haiti."



Appeal Number: #6762
Appeal Amount: $200,000

Jan. 13, 2010

SITUATION: The global humanitarian community, including Church World Service, has begun responding to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

Much of the capital was reduced to rubble, and at this early stage estimates of casualties and damage are not known, though thousands are believed to have perished. The Haitian president, René Préval, described the death toll as *unimaginable.*

The International Red Cross has estimated that more than 3 million people have been affected. In calling for a major international effort to assist Haitians, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called the situation "a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required."

RESPONSE: CWS is issuing this initial appeal with additional revisions planned in coming days.

CWS, a member of the ACT Alliance, is in contact with long-time partners in Haiti, including other ACT Alliance members, Christian Aid and the Lutheran World Federation, and local partners Service Chretien dHaiti, SKDE and the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice.

EFPJ*s House of Hope is a day school CWS supports in Port au Prince. Preliminary information indicates the orphanage is damaged, and some staff are trying to determine the well-being of other staff and children. Christian Aid colleagues report their office is damaged and are still trying to reach unaccounted-for staff. CWS has also made contact with long-time partner, Lutheran World Federation in Haiti.

CWS partners in the Dominican Republic have been contacted and accounted for. CWS contacted Cuban missionaries from long-time partner, the Cuban Council of Churches, which works with people with disabilities in Haiti. CCC staff are currently in the border city of Dajabon trying to account for a dozen of volunteers they work with in Port Au Prince.

CWS is sending funds to local partners in Haiti as it continues to assess the situation, and is ready to provide CWS Kits and CWS Blankets to those in need.

In speaking to CWS staff today, CWS Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator Martin Coria said communications with CWS partners in Haiti remain difficult. But he praised "the resilience and spirit of the Haitian people" whom he said have endured poverty and repeated humanitarian and political crises for many years.

BUDGET: The initial appeal amount is $200,000 to help in the provision of immediate relief assistance that may include material resource provision, temporary shelter and food and health service assistance.

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support this emergency appeal may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Please designate: Haiti Earthquake, Appeal Number #6762

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151

Program Director:


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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