Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Relief Efforts Underway in the Caribbean

There are many disaster relief organizations that are doing outstanding work in the wake of the destruction left by Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. For those who might be interested in supporting the relief effort but have not yet done so, I would encourage you to consider giving through the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS). The OGHS is an ecumenical effort and you can give through the participating denomination of your choice. For American Baptists (whose current relief efforts are documented in the article below), contributions can be made by making an online donation or sending a check to:

American Baptist World Relief Office
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851

In either case, be sure to indicate that your gift is for "Caribbean hurricane relief."

International Ministries helps Caribbean after hurricanes
by Marlon Millner, Managing Editor

American Baptist International Ministries has provided almost $15,000 in emergency grants to our Caribbean partners, as they help victims of recent hurricanes. In Jamaica, the partner has received a $3,000 grant. In the Dominican Republic, $3,500 has been released. Haiti has received a $5,000 grant. At least another $3,000 in emergency aid is planned for the region. These initial emergency grants were made after these Caribbean nations weathered Hurricane Gustav, which struck the Caribbean beginning Aug. 26 and Hurricane Hanna, which took a surprising turn to hit Haiti and then Cuba beginning Sept. 1, and most recently Hurricane Ike, which hit the Caribbean over the weekend.

International Ministries is presently accepting donations for a hurricane emergency relief fund.

The grants will allow our partners to provide immediate emergency aid, such as food and clean water. The funds were provided by One Great Hour of Sharing, an offering raised each year by American Baptists. Lisa Rothenberger, who administers OGHS as the world relief officer, says more is needed.

"These initial grants will help meet some of the immediate needs but there will be great need for additional support," Rothenberger said.

The Haitian Baptist Convention confirms this view.

"We are very worried by this disastrous situation, which is added to the various problems to which we face each day with families who cannot eat, send their children to the school, [or] go to the hospital," said Pastor Emmanuel Pierre, the convention's general secretary. "The situation, certainly, is alarming," Pierre said.

News reports initially undercounted the death toll in Haiti, but recent reports suggest as many as 500 people have died from the recent storms in that country alone.

With the most recent storm, Hurricane Ike, which has caused damage in Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, International Ministries expects the need to rise.

In Jamaica, Jamaican Baptist Union head Karl Johnson told International Ministries, "We are still assessing as we speak but [Hurricane] Gustav claimed approximately 11 lives and badly damaged the country’s infrastructure."

And according to news reports Hurricane Ike affected Eastern Cuba, where we partner with the Eastern Cuba Baptists.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti are on the same island, and missionary Madeline Flores-Lopez says the DR has been affected as well.

A whole community called Batey Yabacao was taken out of their homes due to the river [overflowing]," said Madeline. "Of course the river [flooded] the community so they lost everything."

"Our partners all over the Caribbean need our prayers and support at this time," said Dr. Jose Norat-Rodríguez, area director for the Caribbean for International Ministries. "This has been an unusual storm season because really quickly one storm has hit after another, with the people not having time to recover. So we want to prepare to meet the need that has been made worse by multiple hurricanes"

American Baptists wishing to support ongoing hurricane-relief efforts can do so through their church’s monthly report of mission support, designating contributions “OGHS-Caribbean Hurricanes.”

Since 1950, several American Protestant denominations have annually received the One Great Hour of Sharing offering to support their ministries in disaster relief, refugee assistance, and development aid. American Baptists joined this effort in 1973. Today, nine Christian denominations currently raise about $20 million annually through this offering. Each denomination retains what it raises to support vital ministries in more than 70 countries around the world.

American Baptist International Ministries, organized in 1814, is the oldest Baptist mission agency formed in North America. We serve more than 2,500 short-term and long-term missionaries annually, bringing U.S. and Puerto Rico churches together with partners in 76 countries in cutting-edge ministries that tell the good news of Jesus Christ while meeting human needs.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home