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Lutheran Disaster Response

Situation Report: Haiti Earthquake


Be a part of the response:

Please pray for people who have been affected by the earthquake in Haiti. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Thanks to generous donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response (Haiti Crisis) will be used in full (100%) to assist survivors in Haiti until the response is complete.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook, follow @ELCALDR on Twitter, and follow @ELCA_LDR on Instagram.
  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later

nj damage clean up - hurricane sandyOne year ago, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean and northeastern United States, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. The areas were impacted with widespread flooding and fallen trees, which damaged and destroyed homes and businesses. Areas were without power and heat for several weeks. Water supplies were contaminated and the number of outbreaks of cholera increased.

People like you quickly responded with prayers and financial support to help the church assist our brothers and sisters through their recovery and rebuilding. Through your generous gifts, Lutheran Disaster Response raised more than $4 million to assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery. And because we are a trusted partner, the American Red Cross granted us $1.9 million to support our commitment to assist the millions of people affected by Hurricane Sandy. This grant has enabled us to expand our response efforts.

Working with our partners in the U.S. and in the Caribbean, we have played an active role in the recovery process.

Maryland – Working with Diakon Social Ministries, we have served 81 households, rehabbed 52 homes, helped in the construction of two homes, and have begun construction of six other homes in Maryland. Disaster case managers are matching client needs for counseling, health issues or food support. More than 130 volunteers have given their time and energy to help this community rebuild.

New Jersey – Partnering with Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey(LSM/NJ), we have provided more than 30 unmet-needs grants to help families cover hurricane-related expenses not covered by FEMA or insurance, such as rental assistance and repair costs. A volunteer hosting site at Reformation Lutheran Church, in partnership with Long Branch Covenant Church, has housed more than 125 volunteers, culminating in more than 896 volunteer hours for site support. We also helped bring Camp Noah to New Jersey – a fun and safe environment that has helped more than 90 children heal after Hurricane Sandy.

New York – With Lutheran Social Services of New York, Lutheran Disaster Response is providing case management for more than 260 families to assist them with unmet needs. We’ve also provided lodging for more than 60 volunteers, culminating in more than 1,400 hours of rebuilding in Queens, N.Y.

Cuba – Working with the Cuban Council of Churches, a partnership of 20 Protestant churches, Lutheran Disaster Response provided food security, water, shelter, roof reconstruction and livelihood restoration to more than 1,000 families.

Haiti –In collaboration with The Lutheran World Federation and the Lutheran Church in Haiti, Lutheran Disaster Response worked to drain excess water to help reduce the risk of cholera outbreaks following the hurricane.

Recovery from disaster carries on long after the headlines change, and so does our work. In New York, New Jersey and Maryland, we continue to provide volunteer coordination, home reconstruction management and disaster case managers, who advocate for individual families’ needs.

Please continue to pray for the people and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy as they continue to restore their homes, lives and hope.

Hurricane Sandy: Mark on the Caribbean

Greetings to All!

Last week the world was just hearing about Hurricane Sandy.  I was in Haiti visiting our companions and discussing work still underway from other large disasters from recent years. The rain was pouring from the time I touched down in the country early Tuesday until I left late Thursday.  Haiti typically gets stints of rain that last a few hours, but a few days?  In the context, a little bit of rain can go far and a lot of rain can destroy people’s livelihoods, health and well-being. 

FNGA, partner of the Lutheran World Federation, mobilizing their emergency team.

Upon my departure from Haiti, I began to hear stories of towns under water and people missing.  Now, four days after the storm has passed Haiti more accurate information on Sandy’s destruction is known.  Haiti has reported over 50 people dead and many more missing.  For Cuba that was more directly hit by the storm, Sandy is the second deadliest storm to hit the island nation in fifty years killing 11 people.  Elsewhere, Jamaica has confirmed one person dead and the Bahamas two. 

The ELCA has been gifted with relationships and networks of actors all around the world that can pull together in times of need.  As we work with our companions to respond to the needs of under-served families devastated by Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, we are also in thought of our communities in the US that are bracing for the impact of the storm. 

I encourage you to find time in your day to give thought in prayer to those who have already experienced loss and for those that will in the days to come.  Please also participate in the response either through your giving of time, prayer or resources.  Tomorrow we will be issuing an appeal with ways to give and more information about the response of your church, the ELCA.


Megan Bradfield, Director for International Disaster Response

Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond domestically and internationally in times of need. Donate now.

Remembering Haiti: One Year After

One year after the earthquake people join together in religious meetings across the country. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey

This morning I woke and took fifteen minutes to think about the last year, its successes and challenges, moments to remember both good and bad, and the hopefulness found through it all.  I think it is important that we all see ourselves as participants in this effort.  Through the sharing of our gifted resources, taking moments in silence to pray in solidarity with those who continue to struggle in Haiti, sharing information and stories to one another to continue to build awareness on the issues facing Haiti, contributing your skills and expertise through volunteerism; all these contributions manifests a community participating in the renewal of hope and livelihoods in Haiti.

I can not put into words the overwhelming feeling of frustration and pain felt when conditions don’t seem to improve.  While relief efforts were quick to respond to emergency needs, recovery efforts have been slow to start; housing is still a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of families that are still displaced and living in camps. Yet, Haitian colleagues, who have themselves suffered loss, are dedicated to the work they do for their fellow citizens and continue to persevere with rebuilding efforts.

I see hopefulness in changes seen.  Children have returned to school, signaling the strengthening of Haiti’s next generation of leadership and workers.  People are back to work, earning a wage to provide for their families and beginning the work of rebuilding their own lives.

So, on this anniversary day, I want to extend gratitude for all the gifts that have been shared and challenge you to continue to find ways to contribute to the rebuilding of Haiti.  Years of work remains ahead of us as Haiti continues to recover from the earthquake and addresses conditions of poverty.

I also invite each of you to hold a minute of silence to honor the victims of the 2010 earthquake at 4:34 pm (Haitian time), exactly one year from when the earthquake struck.

God’s Peace,


Haiti in Numbers

The ACT Alliance has published a consolidated fact sheet on Haiti, providing statistical information on the earthquake in 2010.  The ELCA is a member of the global ACT Alliance which brings together over 100 actors in humanitarian aid and development.  The one statistic that is still under dispute is the loss of lives; sources report between 230,000 and 250,000.

7.0……………… strength of January 12 2010 earthquake on Richter scale

230 000……….. people lost their lives – at least

1.5 million…….. people with no permanent home today

1.3 million…….. people living in makeshift camps today

2 million……….. people living in the most affected area of Port au Prince

250,000……….. homes destroyed in capital

30,000…………. commercial buildings destroyed in capital

90………………. percentage of buildings in the city of Léogâne that were destroyed

1,100………….. camps built over the past year, 54 of which have been home to 5,000 people or more

500…………….. camps in Port au Prince today

15,000………… primary schools severely damaged or destroyed

1,500………….. secondary schools severely damaged or destroyed

20 million m3.. quantity of rubble and debris remaining in Port au Prince: enough to fill a solid line of shipping containers stretching from London to Beirut

1……………….. approved dumping site for rubble in the country (at Varreux in Port-au-Prince)

The long road to recovery in Haiti: Some close-ups

In northern Haiti, members of a community-based group began a feeding program for those displaced by the January 12 earthquake. In the southern coastal city of Jacmel, a group of disaster survivors banded together and moved onto the grounds of a local church. And in Port-au-Prince, a woman who gave birth to her infant son twelve days after the quake wondered what she would do next.

These were some of the Haitians CWS staffer Chris Herlinger met in January and February, immediately after the disaster. Durring a recent return to Haiti, Chris attempted to find these individuals. How are they doing? What are they doing? What are their plans for the future?  Here is an update, based on recent travels in Haiti.

Click here to read more.