Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with Church World Service (CWS) to provide assistance in Pestel, Haiti, after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake earlier this month. The program will include medical care, shelter, clean water, hygiene kits and educational services.
On Saturday, August 14, a major earthquake struck the southwest of Haiti (Nippes, South and Grand´Anse departments). Then, on Monday and Tuesday, August 16 and 17, Tropical Storm Grace brought heavy rains to many of the same communities. The storm triggered mudslides and compounded the earthquake’s damage, further hampering relief efforts. According to the humanitarian mapping organization MapAction, the impact of the earthquake on the commune of Pestel, Grand´ Anse department was “very strong.” Pestel had not yet recovered from the effects of the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
In the wake of the earthquake, the local government reported that 30% of the houses in the community had been destroyed and another 60 percent had been impacted. Nearly all of the village’s water cisterns have been damaged, making clean water scarce. Centre de Sante de Pestel, the local health center, has seen an average of 200 patients per day since the quake. Additionally, the psychological trauma of the successive disasters to the community and individuals is a concern for CWS leaders.
The partnership between Church World Service and Episcopal Relief & Development in Pestel will provide assistance in several key areas, including medical care, psychosocial support and direct relief. All assistance will be carried out with appropriate COVID-19 protocols and guidelines to maintain the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. The program will enable the local health care center to provide primary medical care to over 10,000 people. Children and adult community members will be given community-based psychosocial support through existing Wozo clubs. The word wozo is a Haitian reed that symbolizes resilience and tenacity. These clubs were established by a local organization, Wozo Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, and later expanded through a partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development to help Haitians reconstruct the social fabric of the country and build richer, resilient and socially cohesive communities.
In addition, the most vulnerable families whose homes were impacted by the earthquake will be given direct assistance such as tents, clean water and hygiene kits.
“CWS’ established and trusted relationships with the community and local governing agencies enabled our partners to begin damage and needs assessments the day after the earthquake,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Senior Program Officer, Episcopal Relief & Development. “The combined networks of Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners allow us to truly work together to swiftly respond to safely meet needs that are not being addressed by other organizations.”
Episcopal Relief & Development continues to partner with local organizations such as Church World Service, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and others to respond to the devastating earthquake. The organization remains committed to its long-term partnerships to create lasting change in Haiti. Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Haiti Fund to support this important work.
For over 80 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.