Presbyterians Dedicated to Helping Haiti in Long Term

by ekramer on January 14, 2010

Louisville-based Presbyterian Church USA is planning its work in Haiti following this week’s earthquake. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The church’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance office is working on an assessment of urgent needs in the country that will include coordinating with partner churches and missionary staff who are already well established in Haiti.

Randy Ackley is the office’s coordinator. He says the church has sent out $100,000 for the relief effort and is planning to be a part of the relief effort.

“An assessment team is flying into Haiti to help with an assessment of what the exact needs are, and what the resources are available, and how we can get the resources in that the folks who have just lived through this disaster will need,” Ackley says.

And he says the church is committed to helping Haitians in the long term.

“Unfortunately, many organizations disappear after the immediate emergency response,” he says. “We really want to try to be with there Haitian people and help them as they recover from this process, which could take years.”

He says the Presbyterian Church’s history of working in the country through missions and its many missionaries over the years will facilitate the country’s rebuilding process.

“We work with the other arms of the Presbyterian Church to identify the partners that have been working with over the long term,” he says. “And those often make natural partners for us as we work together for the recovery efforts, because they’re in the community; they’re local; they know the needs of the local community.”

The Presbyterians have a long-standing history of working on education and health projects and with the Episcopalian church in Haiti. Many missionaries have worked at its hospital, which collapsed Tuesday.

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