Updated 8/19/21 (new information in bold) - Southern Baptists will be responding in Haiti as Send Relief International (the compassion ministries arm of the North American and International Mission Boards) is at present assessing needs and coordinating with the Florida Baptist Convention and Haitian Baptist partners on the ground. Florida Baptists have a long-term relationship with Haiti and will be primary partners in the response.
The greatest needs identified in early assessments are temporary shelter, medical assistance, water, food, sanitation, and hygiene. The Florida Baptist Convention and Send Relief are currently partnering for the purchase of temporary shelter supplies (tents & tarps), medical supplies, and food.
The political situation in Haiti is not secure enough at present to safely utilize volunteers in the country. Chronic poverty issues, COVID, political instability, and threat of violence are all complicating the disaster response. Partners in the country indicate that security is virtually non-existent in the earthquake-devastated areas, which are about six hours from Port-au-Prince. Extreme danger from intense gang violence and gang control with little to no active civil authority already existed, but has worsened since the earthquake. The disaster response will ramp up when the situation stabilizes.
Presently the deaths from this earthquake number over 2,200 with over 9,900 others injured and over 85,000 homes destroyed or damaged . Despite its strength and depth, this quake is less catastrophic than that of 2010, the worst disaster in the country's history, which left more than 300,000 people dead and 1.5 milliion others injured. The response to this quake will not rise to level of the 2010 response, but there has been significant loss.
The best way for churches and others to currently help Haiti is prayer and giving to support the planned response. Donations can be made directly to the Florida Baptist Convention, designated for Haiti Relief. For online giving , click HERE. Checks can be made payable to Florida Baptist Convention, with "Haiti Relief" in the memo line. Mail to Florida Baptist Convention, PO Box 550589, Jacksonville, FL 32255.