A Canadian Anglican who recently visited earthquake-ravaged Haiti said her experience "leaves no illusion that quick fixes or neat solutions will work."
Andrea Mann, global relations co-ordinator of the church's partnerships department, says rebuilding will require "long-term commitments of good governance by Haiti's leaders and long-term companionship from partners," including the Anglican Church of Canada.
Writing on her blog, http://notes.anglican.ca/haiti, Mann said that while the clearing of rubble and rebuilding work has begun, "the scale of devastation to human life, land, local economies, physical infrastructure and future generations has been enormous." More than 250,000 people are believed to have died and nearly all buildings and homes in and around Port-au-Prince were flattened from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan, 12.
Life continues to be a "living hell" for hundreds of thousands of people there who are "homeless, jobless, school-less, without the tools of their trade, without transportation, reliable or safe food and water, living vulnerable to illness, trauma, violence and further loss as hurricane season descends," wrote Mann.
Mann visited the Episcopal diocese of Haiti parishes in Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Hinche, Cange and Montrouis from March 23 to 30. Naba Gurung, humanitarian response co-ordinator of The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), travelled with Mann on some parts of the trip and also spent his time meeting with emergency and relief groups.
"Over and over again, people were saying, 'Merci beaucoup. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for the parishes and churches that have remembered us and supported us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers,'" said Mann in an interview. Her visit was co-ordinated by Canon Oge Beauvoir, principal of the Episcopal diocese of Haiti Seminary, and co-ordinator of the crisis committee set up by the Haiti church in the earthquake's aftermath.
Mann noted that continuing short-term needs such as temporary housing, schools and hospitals are being met with financial support from overseas.
At the recent UN Conference on Haiti, the international community pledged $5.3 billion in new aid for Haiti's reconstruction in the next two years. However, long-term support will be needed to rebuild church buildings, other structures like seminaries and permanent homes.
Mann and Gurung visited St. Therese Park, a camp that is home to 4,356 displaced families. It is one of those supported by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), with funding from PWRDF, as part of the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance. PWRDF has received more than $2 million in donations for Haiti from Canadian Anglicans. …