Food for the Hungry will distribute blankets, solar flashlights, water filters, and hygiene kits. But first, the organization had to assist its own staff members who were on the ground when the earthquake hit. Christianity Today online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey spoke by phone with Lindsay Branham, global communications coordinator for Food for the Hungry, who is in Port-au-Prince.
How did the earthquake affect your staff in Haiti?
It's hard to describe the devastation. Buildings and houses have completely collapsed. When we arrived on Friday, people were still in that shock phase. People were removing bodies, trucks were removing people from the streets. Now people are moving into recovery mode, so a lot of people have moved into impromptu displacement camps around the city. There are tons of people living under sheets and sticks in parks, yards or in the streets. People are scared to go back to their homes or they've lost their homes altogether. It's overwhelming to see the level of human pain and suffering.
We have 26 staff, and every single one of them was affected by the earthquake. One of our staff's two children were killed when their house collapsed. One of our staff's mother couldn't be located, and almost everybody's houses were destroyed or partially destroyed. All of them have started sleeping on the streets. You're talking about wanting to do emergency relief, but you have to start with your own staff. We're determining the greatest needs and have been involved in getting supplies shipped in. We're going to do our first distribution tomorrow. Basically, the help that has come to Haitians so far has been medical response. Emergency medical teams and search and rescue teams are on the ground running. Shelter, water, ...