Strong Quake Strikes Haiti Again; ADRA Focus Turns to Thousands of Displaced Survivors
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John Torres, Senior Public Relations Manager
SILVER SPRING, Md. —A strong aftershock struck near Port-au-Prince this morning causing heightened anxiety among the local population, including thousands of displaced survivors from last week’s disastrous earthquake who are receiving emergency assistance from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), reported agency staff in Haiti.
“It is still not safe to go home. I don’t think it will ever be,” said Michel, 26, a man who is among an estimated 25,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) staying in temporary shelters on the campus of the Haitian Adventist University and the Adventist Hospital of Haiti in Carrefour, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, where ADRA has set-up a command center.
The magnitude-6.1 quake follows a more powerful seism that leveled large areas of Haiti’s capital on January 12 forcing high numbers of city residents to become displaced.
“Thousands of people remain in makeshift camps where the food and sanitation situation is precarious,” said Richard Jaqua, a staff member who is helping to coordinate the logistics for ADRA’s emergency response in Haiti.
On January 18, ADRA distributed nearly 13,000 rations of high-energy nutritional biscuits donated by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in several sites in Port-au-Prince, primarily to the thousands of IDPs staying on the grounds of the university and hospital. Each ration contains enough food for a person for five days. The distribution of food aid is crucial as supplies in the capital’s stores and marketplaces have become limited and extremely expensive, reported Jaqua.
Among ADRA’s other primary concerns are the provision of clean drinking water, sanitation, and medical assistance to the group of displaced persons.
Already, ADRA, working with a team from Canada-based partner GlobalMedic, has set up a water distribution center to serve the 25,000 displaced persons on the university campus, and three new water points in the area. This will enhance ADRA’s water distribution capacity significantly.
Due to limited sources of energy and battery supply, ADRA staff have had to find alternative means to generate enough power to operate the water systems. In some cases, motorcycles were used to power the units, according to a staff member.
ADRA also plans to increase the number of water points in the region, providing 20 additional ones, and expects to distribute more water supplies provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Already, beneficiaries are receiving thousands of water purification tablets. Each tablet can purify a liter of water in 20 minutes.
In addition, sanitation, which has already become critical among the thousands of IDPs, will likely improve with the initial construction of 60 latrines.
ADRA will distribute a shipment of 1,000 pounds of medical supplies received from International Aid, and medical supplies worth $15,000 donated by Heart to Heart International. Other partners include Food for the Poor, which is working with ADRA to distribute medical and food supplies; Johanniter International, a non-profit association that provided medical supplies for hospital staff; GARSA, a Colombian rescue and relief group in partnership with ADRA Colombia; International Relief and Development (IRD); and donors in Puerto Rico.
To continue to improve the speed and fluidity of relief operations, ADRA will provide distribution training for its volunteers. The procurement of additional food and medical supplies is ongoing.
ADRA network partners, who have pledged $572,000 for the initial response, include ADRA International, ADRA New Zealand, ADRA Czech Republic, ADRA United Kingdom, ADRA Australia, ADRA China, ADRA Denmark, ADRA Switzerland, ADRA Norway, ADRA Canada, ADRA Ireland, ADRA Portugal, ADRA Sweden, ADRA Netherlands, ADRA Austria, and ADRA Japan.
To donate through a mobile phone, text the word "ADRA" to 85944, reply "YES" and donate a one-time $10 gift to ADRA's Haiti response.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.
For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill