Tuesday 19 January 2010

Haiti Appeal

Issued 18 January 2010

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us that anyone and everyone is our neighbour, especially those in need.

We have all watched in horror at the scenes on our television screens of the devastation suffered by the people of Haiti following the massive earthquake on 12th January. They are our neighbours in great need now. Attached please find a copy of the letter which I sent to Bishop Zaché, the Bishop of Haiti.

There are two important ways in which we can help our sisters and brothers there.

We can continue to pray for them – for those who have died and their families and friends, for those who have lost their homes and their livelihood, for those who are still missing or trapped, and for the injured and those who are caring for them.

And we can share our resources with them – however large or small.

I have been in touch with the South African National Disaster Management Centre to ascertain how we in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa can be of most assistance at this time. I have also shared with President Zuma and religious leaders about Africa’s response since the emergency and will say more about this later. Working through our Provincial Office, there is an account into which monies can be deposited.

Detail for donations:

Account name: CPSA Disaster Relief Fund

Bank: Standard Bank of SA Ltd

Branch: Cape Town

Branch IBT Code: 02 0009

Account number: 07 007 8394

The donations received will be channelled through some established agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières, Gift of the Giver and the Red Cross.

The tiny country of Haiti is only just recovering from a deadly hurricane which hit the island in 2008, leaving 800 people dead and 150,000 displaced. The current estimates of the human tragedy there now are much worse – possibly 200,000 dead and 3 million people, almost a third of the population, directly affected.

Haiti is by far the poorest and least-developed country in the western hemisphere, with more than half of its people living on less than $1 per day, and 80% living on less than $2 per day. One-third of its children are malnourished and 500,000 cannot go to school. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 60 percent.

The Diocese of Haiti (which is part of The Episcopal Church) serves between 100,000 and 150,000 people in 168 congregations. There are less than 40 active clergy, most of whom serve multiple congregations in urban and rural areas. We have had news that the Bishop and his wife are safe, though she suffered some injuries when their home collapsed. The Cathedral, nearby convent and other diocesan buildings suffered major damage, as well as some outlying schools and churches. Several people were killed while taking part in a church service when the earthquake struck.

In addition to the churches, the diocese's ministry has included 254 schools; medical clinics; a renowned philharmonic orchestra and children's choir based at the cathedral; agricultural, reforestation and other development projects and micro-financing efforts run in part with help from Episcopal Relief and Development; peace and reconciliation work, including through the Desmond Tutu Centre for Reconciliation and Peace and non-violence training provided by Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

I would ask you to be as generous as possible as we reach out to our sisters and brothers in this time of their great need. Through our prayers and our giving, we can make a difference.

God bless.

Yours in the service of Christ,

+Thabo Cape Town

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