In an interview from Port-au-Prince, Prospery Raymond, of the Lutheran World Federation, spoke in his role as convener of the ACT Haiti Forum.
“I think the situation is really concerning right now,” said Raymond. “We have 1,200 people that died in the earthquake, with more than 5,000 people injured, 7,000 homes destroyed and 5,000 homes damaged.”
Based on partial information received from ACT partners, these figures are, sadly, expected to increase, said Raymond. “We are looking at a really difficult situation.”
As rescue workers and family members continue to dig for earthquake survivors, Tropical Storm Grace was bearing down on the island on 16 August, bringing a threat of flooding.
“If this happens, just imagine all these families with kids, children that don’t have a place to stay overnight,” he said. “A lot of churches and schools have been destroyed, and people cannot find refuge."
The Haiti ACT Forum, through its partners and through local communities in Haiti, has spent more than two years supporting survivor and community-led responses, said Raymond. “Survivor and community-led responses allow people to be the leaders in humanitarian response, ensuring that the work of ACT members is appropriate and effective, and respects the needs, expertise, and leadership of those affected by this disaster."
Raymond asked the WCC ecumenical fellowship to pray for the people of Haiti and for those responding to needs. “We don’t know what will happen,” he said. “Some roads are blocked and it’s difficult to send goods and supplies.
“We need prayer,” he added, “and we need to ask the people in Haiti to lead us in what they really need.”