CWS has heard how their Haitian partners have fared since the earthquake destroyed communications last week.
They have also heard from their global partner the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) who have some people on the ground and are starting aid work in Haiti by sending in water purification equipment that will serve 10,000 people.
Clean water will become increasingly important to fight the risk of cholera and other water borne diseases. Another ACT partner is sending an emergency plane with 45 tons of water purification equipment, water distribution systems, water tanks, pipes and tapping systems. Tools for building latrines are also on board together with several hundred tents.
Two of the three core staff of the CWS partner Haitian group Institut Culturel Karl Leveque have been found, while one is still missing. The ICKL offices were destroyed in the quake but Institut executive director, Marc Arthur Fils Aime, has reported his home is still intact. He has contacted a former staff member now working with the Canadian Embassy in Haiti to get him to update overseas supporters before more normal communication channels can be reopened. Christian World Services has a support partnership with ICKL that runs until the end of 2012. CWS staff member, Nick Clarke visited the organisation in Haiti in May last year.
CWS national director, Pauline McKay, said that the reports from ICKL were welcome news in an otherwise bleak week. That so many of their key people are alive is great, so too is the news that our other global partners are now there to start on aid work,’’ said Ms McKay.
Christian World Service will formally enter their working relationship with the new global aid and development giant, the ACT Alliance, in March. he ACT Alliance was formed last year and includes 150 agencies, churches and aid groups throughout the world. It has a common income of more than (US) $2 billion dollars per year with a staff of 40,000 including volunteers. The Geneva based global aid giant has close connections with Christian World Service as the former director of CWS, Jill Hawkey, is now second in charge of the ACT Alliance. The former CWS media officer, Sandra Cox, is now the assistant communications officer for the ACT Alliance.
For the first time ACT Alliance is sending staff from their emergency support team to assist members in Haiti. aced with what United Nation’s staff are calling the worst catastrophe in recent memory ACT is sending in specialist psychiatric workers to help start on dealing with a highly traumatised population.
Former CWS international programme director, Elizabeth Mackie, said that the levels of trauma they would find there would be deep and pervasive. er visit to Haiti some years ago was still a strong memory.
“Of all the places in the world that I visited for CWS Haiti was the one that left me in a state of despair,’’ said Ms Mackie. he had been there during a relatively peaceful time but the daily violence levels had been high then. At night you would lie in bed and hear gunshots but you would also hear people singing’’.
She said that people wanting to help would find it hard to understand the delays that would be common in a place where there was no physical or civil infrastructure to speak of to start with.“It is just something about the lack of spirit you see in people who have been so totally brutalised for so long,’’ she said.
Christian World Service expects to hear more details of what aid efforts need urgent support within the next few days.