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26 January 2010

Prayer for Haiti

As Evangelical Alliance member organisations continue to respond to the earthquake in Haiti, the Alliance is calling on Christians to keep praying for the survivors and the relief efforts. 

On 25 January Douglas Alexander, International Development Secretary, met with British faith-based groups that are providing aid in the country to talk about how to coordinate long-term efforts. The emphasis in the meeting, which Alliance members World Vision and Tearfund attended, was on allowing Haitians to take the lead in rebuilding their country. The earthquake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck on January 12. Relief and development agencies, including Alliance members, responded immediately, deploying staff and creating emergency appeals.

Magalie Boyer from World Vision, who have 370 staff in the country, spoke of the earthquake: "It felt as if a truck had hit a wall. There is extensive damage in the city. People had to spend the night in the streets. They are not comfortable staying in their houses."
Boyer added: "World Vision Haiti will distribute first aid kits to survivors, along with basic materials such as soap, blankets, clothes and bottles of water as an initial response."

Power and communication lines are down for miles, roads are blocked and damaged and there is a lack of equipment. This has all stalled the relief effort and made bringing aid to survivors more challenging.

Jennie Evans, Tearfund's Head of Region for Latin America and the Caribbean said: "'With so many buildings destroyed and so many people made homeless, the need for shelter and basic essentials such as food and water is extremely urgent.'

Impoverished Haiti is no stranger to disaster, but this latest earthquake is the largest to hit the Caribbean in 200 years, causing widespread devastation.

With the epicentre just 10 miles from the capital Port-au Prince, countless buildings (including the presidential palace and UN office) and homes have been destroyed and the official death toll is rising continually.

British rescue teams and Government rescue specialists landed in nearby Dominican Republic and although figures are uncertain the Red Cross estimated that three million people are in need emergency aid.

Distressing news pictures depict the injured and dead lying in the streets and screaming from underneath rubble. However there are stories streaming in of people being found alive in the rubble two weeks on which is heartening.

Bishop Gerald A. Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean, said the earthquake has had a devastating impact on the progress made in recent years to develop Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.

"The social and material gains made in the past two to three years have been totally wiped out by this earthquake," he said. "As Christian NGOs gear up for a major response in the next few days, we need to give sacrificially and pray."

Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance UK, said: "At a time like this many of us feel powerless to do anything when we see devastation but as Christians we can always do something.

"Please give generously, and pray passionately for those who have lost everything in this disaster, that aid workers reach the thousands in desperate need and that the Church in Haiti is able to respond to the needs of those suffering."


Prayer points

Pray for Haitians as they cope with the shock and aftermath of the earthquake.

Pray for the injured, that they would receive the medical attention and assistance they need, and for God's comfort for those who have been bereaved.

Pray for rescue efforts - that survivors are reached quickly and that communication and power lines are restored.

Pray for the local church leaders and Christians as they minister and offer spiritual, physical and emotional help to their neighbours in need.  

Pray for the government and leadership in Haiti as they respond.

Pray for the safety and protection of relief staff, rescue workers and aid agencies.

Pray that the appeals for help and financial support will be met with a fast and generous response across the world.

Tearfund have produced a Pray for Haiti powerpoint  for use in churches or small groups