CLEARWATER TRIBUNE HOME

JANUARY 21, 2010

As tent cities arise, aide workers are finding it increasingly difficult to get the help to the people of Haiti due to lack of and/or damaged infrastructure. Neighboring Dominican Republic has become a staging ground for media representatives and others trying to gain access to Haiti. Photo courtesy of: World Health Organization.

 The media has bidding war for local choppers

Getting into Haiti

   The following update on the crises in Haiti is provided by Jamie Bello, a missionary working in the neighboring country of The Dominican Republic.

When the quake struck

   “We were at home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Berly felt the tremors [January 18], and lamps swayed in our home over 100 miles away from the quake.  There was no damage in the Dominican Republic (DR), but the earthquake basically leveled the capital city of Haiti, Port au Prince.

Current situation

   Because of the difficulty of getting into Haiti through the Port-au-Prince airport, the D.R. has become a major staging ground with many people coming here first and then trying to get into Haiti. The situation has been chaotic at border crossings and airports with news crews getting into bidding wars over helicopter charters. 

   A fellow missionary told me she saw large numbers of rescue personnel already dressed in their gear coming in at the Santo Domingo airport last night when she went to pick up one of our overseas personnel who flew in to assess the situation.

 What is being done

   Given the current situation, [Jan 16] the missionaries here in the D.R. have an incredible opportunity to help facilitate key personnel and aid entering into Haiti. This morning Berly, his father (our Dominican AG Missions Director) and 7 other missionary colleagues went across the border with two- speed: The Light vehicles along with a LACC truck – all 3 packed with water, food and medical relief supplies.  They arrived in Port au Prince this evening after a safe and uneventful border crossing (THANKS for your prayers), with all the supplies intact (also THANKS to your prayers), and are staying at the home of our missionaries there.  They will begin work early in the morning.

Will it help?

   They took in as much food and water as possible, but of course it will not begin to meet the overwhelming need, so you may rightly wonder if we're pursuing the right course. The answer is yes.

   They are providing transport for leaders from Convoy of Hope that need to get into Haiti ASAP to help coordinate efforts. The team also included leaders from Assembly of God World Missions of the US and of the Dominican Republic. These leaders will meet with National Church Leaders and our US and Dominican missionaries on the ground in Haiti.

   It is important that they know that we are in this with them. It is important that we hear their assessment of how we can best come along side them. And it is very important that we pray with them.  This trip will be a preamble to the support to come via the missionaries in the DR and the Dominican AG in the coming days, weeks and months.  This is not a short term situation.

You can help

   Our General Superintendent has put out a second request for us to respond to this crisis by giving to a relief fund that will provide aid through Convoy of Hope. You can give online at www.ag.org  by clicking the Haitian Relief button or sending your donation to Assemblies of God World Missions, PO Box 2020, Springfield MO  65802, marked AGWM/COH Disaster Relief 410946-8 (70). Check our Facebook page (Jamie Bello) for small updates in case the team is able to find ways to communicate with those of us outside of Haiti.”

   Help may also be provided through the American Red Cross organization. People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Haiti should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225.

   To make a donation Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Español) or write to: American Red Cross,
PO Box 4002018,
Des Moines, IA 50340-2018 and mark your donation Haiti Relief and Development or visit their website at: http://www.redcross.org/