ELCA NEWS SERVICE
January 13, 2010
ELCA International Disaster Response Commits Funds to Haiti Relief
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- International Disaster Response of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) announced it will immediately commit $250,000 to support response efforts to the earthquake in Haiti. It will also advance another $500,000 in anticipation of additional gifts from ELCA members.
ELCA members can contribute gifts online at http://www.ELCA.org/haitiearthquake or call 800-638-3522.
A severe earthquake, the strongest in 200 years, struck Haiti the afternoon of Jan. 12. The quake struck the area around the capital of Port-au-Prince, causing heavy damage, knocking down buildings and power lines. The number of casualities was not immediately known.
In a Jan. 13 conference call involving several international, nongovernmental agency representatives, many said water, sanitation and communication needs were high priorities for Haiti relief. They discussed the possibility of sending a team of people through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Actions by Churches Together (ACT) to Haiti to coordinate responses.
The LWF is a global communion of 140 member churches in 79 countries, representing over 68.9 million Christians. The ACT Alliance is global alliance of churches and related agencies working together in disaster response and development. Both are based in Geneva. The ELCA is member of both.
The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission, said from early reports, "it appears this will be a major relief and rehabilitation operation." He said that the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, expressed a desire that there be a coordinated Lutheran response from the United States to Haiti.
Malpica Padilla said International Disaster Response and Global Mission are planning a dual response to the disaster. One response will be through the LWF and ACT, and a second will be with the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod, which maintains a companion synod relationship with the emerging Lutheran Church in Haiti. Other partner organizations will be responding, such as Church World Service, New York, and Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore.
The Rev. Raquel Rodriguez, director for Latin America and Caribbean Continental desk, ELCA Global Mission, said there are already significant numbers of nongovernmental relief and development agencies working in Haiti.
The Rev. Daniel Rift, director of the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal, said the ELCA has placed significant World Hunger funds into Haiti through the LWF's development effort there.
He indicated that this experience in Haiti "presents an important opportunity for the ELCA to faithfully respond in this time of crisis."
The LWF, together with ACT Alliance, is preparing a substantial emergency response to the earthquake, Lutheran World Information (LWI) reported.
Rev. Eberhard Hitzler, director, LWF Department for World Service, fears an imminent catastrophe for the Caribbean nation, already one of the poorest in the world and a victim of frequent natural disasters.
The LWF also reported that none of the department's staff on the ground in Haiti was injured, and they are organizing relief assistance.
Editors: When listing organizations receiving funds for aid to survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include: ELCA International Disaster Response, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764. 1-800-638-3522.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org