From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Support Relief Efforts in Haiti

Date Fri, 30 Apr 2004 10:34:30 -0500


April 30, 2004

Lutherans Support Relief Efforts in Haiti

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA) have contributed $50,000 to support relief
efforts in Haiti.  The recent political upheaval surrounding the
departure of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has created
a humanitarian crisis there.
     "An estimated 3 million people have been affected by the
crisis," said the Rev. Y. Franklin Ishida, director for
leadership development, ELCA Division for Global Mission.  "More
than half of them are children under 18 years old, and an
estimated 700,000 are women of child-bearing age," he said.
     "Violence has resulted in an unknown number of deaths, fear
and uncertainty, as well as up to $300 million in damaged
property," Ishida reported.  Other concerns in Haiti include
maintaining safety, ensuring humanitarian access, providing food
and medical aid.
     The crisis has cut off water, sanitation and electrical
systems.  Hospitals or clinics that have managed to stay open are
severely overextended, according to Lutheran World Relief, the
overseas relief and development organization of the ELCA and the
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
     Through its International Disaster Response, the ELCA sent
funds to Action by Churches Together (ACT) for implementation by
the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which has been responding to
the crisis in Haiti, said Ishida.
     The ELCA World Hunger Program has been supporting the work
of LWF since 1988, but the present humanitarian "crisis goes well
beyond current support to meet the needs of the Haitian people,"
he said.
     LWF will focus its relief efforts in first aid and legal
assistance, food security, health assistance, agricultural
recovery and income generating activities, counseling and
conflict resolution.
     The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel, director for communication, ELCA
Florida-Bahamas Synod, Tampa, Fla., said representatives of the
synod are "very concerned about the future" of Haiti.  The ELCA
Florida-Bahamas Synod shares a "companion" relationship with
Lutheran churches in Haiti, and it participates in LWF's work in
Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
     Coordinated by the ELCA Division for Global Mission,
International Disaster Response often channels its funds through
international church organizations and relief agencies.
     ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies
that meets human need through organized emergency response.  ACT
is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and LWF, both
in Geneva, Switzerland.  The ELCA is a member of WCC and LWF.
     LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition.  Founded in 1947, the LWF now has 136 member
churches in 76 countries, representing 61.7 million of the world's
nearly 65.4 million Lutherans.
_ _ _
Editors: When listing organizations receiving funds for aid to
survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto
Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include:
ELCA International Disaster Response
PO Box 71764 Chicago, IL 60694-1764,
1-800-638-3522, or at
on the Internet.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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