Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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22347 [ALERT] Update: ADRA Response Underway in Quake-hit Haiti

SILVER SPRING, Md. —The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is launching an immediate response following a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake on January 12 that leveled much of Haiti’s capital, affecting an estimated 3 million people, and raising fears that up to 500,000 have died, according to preliminary news reports.

“Many, many have died,” said Ketteline Israel, administrative assistant for ADRA Haiti, in a message from Port-au-Prince. “The country is devastated.”

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“Accessibility has been difficult due to the magnitude of the situation,” said Frank Teeuwen, bureau chief for Emergency Management of ADRA International.  “Roads and internal infrastructure have been severely compromised.  However, we are responding as quickly as possible to avert an even greater humanitarian disaster in the wake of this tragedy.”

ADRA is launching an initial response worth $75,000 to meet the immediate needs of survivors. Funders include ADRA International and the ADRA regional office based in Miami, Florida. According to an initial assessment, the immediate needs include water purification supplies, food, temporary shelter materials, hygiene kits, and medical assistance.

ADRA is also partnering with Canada-based Global Medic to provide essential emergency items, including 4.2 million water purification tablets, 278,640 water treatment packets, 55,200 oral rehydration salt units, 20 water purification units, a portable water tester, and an inflatable field hospital. The aid is worth $142,000.

In the following days, ADRA expects to provide through these treatment methods clean water access to an estimated 90,000 people per day. The water purification packets and the tablets alone will have the combined ability to produce 1.84 million gallons (6.98 million liters) of clean drinking water. Additionally, the inflatable field hospital will have the capacity to assist 1,000 patients per day, and 4,500 people will be able to be treated with the oral rehydration salts.

ADRA is coordinating with the Overseas Medical Assistance Team (OMAT) to send a medical group to Haiti. OMAT, which provides medical care to impoverished communities in various Caribbean countries, is lead by Dr. Stephen S. Carryl, chairman of surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital.

The quake, which struck at 16:53 local time (21:53 GMT) and approximately 10 miles (15 km) southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince, is the strongest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years. It was followed by two powerful aftershocks registering at a magnitude of 5.9 and 5.5, respectively.  As a result, the damage to infrastructure, including bridges, buildings, phone and power lines, has been severe.

Although too early to gauge the disaster’s full extent, Haitian President Rene Preval has said that thousands of people are feared dead, while Haitian senator Youri Latortue told the Associated Press that the number of killed could reach 500,000. According to news reports, the U.S. State Department had been told to expect a “profound loss of life”.

Updates will be released as ADRA’s response efforts expand.

To send your contribution to ADRA’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fund, please contact ADRA at 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or give online at

Follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest information as it happens.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit

Author: Nadia McGill

Photo Credit: A destroyed building near the Hotel Villa Creole in Port-au-Prince is seen on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 after the strongest earthquake in more than 200 years struck Haiti. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Montreal La Presse, Ivanoh Demers)