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Earthquake Devastates Haiti

Thousands feared dead as faith-based organizations pledge to provide relief.
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Thousands are feared dead after an earthquake and 12 aftershocks struck Haiti yesterday near Port-au-Prince.

Haitian president René Préval told The Miami Herald that he had been stepping over dead bodies and hearing the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national Parliament. A Red Cross official told the Associated Press that 3 million people will need emergency aid.

Reporter Joseph Delva described the scene as one of total chaos. "I saw people under the rubble, and people killed. People were screaming 'Jesus, Jesus' and running in all directions," he told the Times.

Catholic News Service reports that Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, was killed.

World Vision, which has about 370 staff in country, is among the faith-based organizations responding to the quake.

"It felt as if a truck had hit a wall," World Vision staffer Magalie Boyer said in a press release from the organization. "There is extensive damage in the city. People are getting ready to spend the night in the streets. They are not comfortable staying in their houses."

Samaritan's Purse is sending a disaster assistance team on a cargo plane today with emergency rolls of plastic shelter material, hygiene kits, and water purification kits.

Baptist World Aid has pledged $20,000 in emergency funds for Haiti, according to Associated Baptist Press.

BWAid director Paul Montacute said grants of $10,000 each were committed to the Baptist Convention of Haiti, a group of 110 churches and 82,000 members established in 1964, and the Haiti Baptist Mission, a network of 330 churches and schools founded in 1943.

The Salvation Army has committed $50,000 to the relief effort and is preparing to send more than 44,000 pounds of pre-packaged emergency rations to the country with emergency disaster teams.

This morning, President Obama pledged "full support" from the United States. The Boston Globe has posted a photo gallery illustrating the devastation.

Update: Habitat for Humanity will also send a team to Haiti, where it has placed 2,000 people in homes.

Gleaning for the World is preparing to ship supplies to earthquake victims in Haiti.

Floresta, a Christian nonprofit organization trying to fight deforestation and poverty that CT wrote about recently, has not be able to connect with its Haitian staff, most of whom are located 40 miles of Port-au-Prince.

Update: A leader of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee will be traveling to Haiti, expecting to assist with temporary shelter and long-term home repair and reconstruction.

Food for the Hungry has staff members on the ground.

Mennonite Central Committee and World Relief are planning their response.

Operation Blessing International has a relief fund and the Children's Hunger Fund is sending food and aid. Christian Aid has pledged £100,000 for emergency relief.

December
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