Monday, January 18, 2010

Relief Efforts in Haiti

Latest report on Haiti from the JW-Media website:

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2010

Witnesses’ relief efforts well underway for victims of earthquake in Haiti
NEW YORK—Jehovah’s Witnesses are actively providing local and international assistance for victims of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on the evening of January 12, 2010.

In cooperation with local authorities and other relief agencies, the Witnesses organized to determine the immediate needs of their fellow worshippers and other victims in Haiti and care for them. The Witnesses’ branch office in the Dominican Republic quickly sent 6 tons of food and medical supplies to the branch office in Haiti. These supplies were received the morning after the disaster. Witnesses at the Haiti branch office then prepared 700 bags with basic necessities. These bags, weighing 10 kilograms (just over 22 pounds) each and providing 2,800 meals, were transported to Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses that were designated as relief distribution centers. From the first shipment, 3-day rations were distributed to 4,700 people. This was followed by twice-daily shipments of relief materials, including boxes of clothing.

Arrangements were also made to send fellow Witnesses who are medical professionals from the Dominican Republic to Haiti to assist in rendering urgently needed care. An Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses remained intact after the quake and is now serving as a temporary clinic and medical center for Witnesses who were injured. Three different Kingdom Halls in the affected area are being used similarly, with local Haitian Witnesses who are doctors providing medical attention. At these makeshift facilities, efforts are made to stabilize the patient’s condition. However, if the injuries require procedures, equipment, and/or medication beyond what the Witnesses have on hand, arrangements are made to transport critical care patients to nearby hospitals. Initially, 12 Witnesses were transported to a hospital in JimanĂ­, Dominican Republic, near the border with Haiti. Presently critical care patients among the Witnesses are taken to a hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic, located approximately 50 miles from the border. The Witnesses’ assistance in caring for the medical needs of their fellow worshippers and others is proving to be valuable, since several hospitals in Haiti were destroyed by the quake and the remaining area hospitals are overwhelmed. Two teams of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are medical professionals from France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States volunteered to travel to Haiti and work directly with the relief efforts of their branch offices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These teams are expected to arrive by Tuesday, January 19.

There are an estimated 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the disaster area. Sadly, the latest reports from the Haiti branch office confirm that the death toll among the Witnesses now stands at 103, and that number is expected to rise as more reports are received. The Witnesses continue coordinating their international relief efforts from their world headquarters in Brooklyn. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.