Samaritan's Purse seeks help from Canadians in providing transitional
shelters for Haitian families

Each donation of $1,200 enables construction of a short-term home

CALGARY, March 31 /CNW/ - As the rainy season approaches in Haiti, the government's Office of Humanitarian Affairs reports that providing displaced people with waterproof shelters is a top priority.

In response, Samaritan's Purse is offering a unique opportunity for Canadians to join in providing transitional shelters for Haitian families in danger from the elements and disease. A donation of $1,200 will provide a family with a waterproof shelter that will last for as long as two years, until they secure permanent housing.

"They say Haitians fear the sound of rain more than the sound of gunfire," says John Clayton, Samaritan's Purse Canada's director of projects. "I didn't know what that meant until I saw the average rainfall projections for the month of May."

Haitian officials report that as many as 750,000 people still lack shelter to protect them from the looming rainy season. They are being forced to create their own shelters out of sticks, cardboard and bed sheets. On rainy nights, entire families can end up sleeping in the mud.

"Every time I meet with foreign leaders and delegations, I tell them that shelters are the most urgent need," Haitian President Rene Preval told Reuters news agency. "Now that we've attended to the wounded, taken away the dead, and we're distributing food and water, the problem of shelter, the tents, is the most urgent."

Each shelter built by Samaritan's Purse is about 3.6 metres square, with reinforced plastic sheeting, treated lumber and corrugated metal roofing. The shelters are anchored in the ground for stability in high winds and heavy rains.

"We are inviting Canadians to join with their families, friends and co-workers to give Haitian families shelters that are sturdy and safe," said Fred Weiss, Executive Director of Samaritan's Purse Canada. "This a chance to show those so profoundly affected by the earthquake that the people of Canada are continuing to care for them."

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12 killed an estimated 250,000 people and left more than one million homeless. Samaritan's Purse has responded with a wide range of disaster assistance including food distributions, community water filtration systems, temporary shelter materials, medical supplies, dozens of volunteer medical and surgical staff, plus barge loads of heavy excavating and construction equipment.

Samaritan's Purse is also assembling and sending thousands of hygiene kits to Haiti to help earthquake victims guard against deadly diseases. Each donation of $30 will pay for a hygiene kit for a family of five. Canadians can support Samaritan's Purse in its relief and recovery work at 1-800-663-6500 or www.samaritanspurse.ca.

About Samaritan's Purse Canada

Samaritan's Purse Canada is an international Christian relief and development organization working in about 70 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. The Calgary-based charity also operates the well-known Operation Christmas Child program that sends gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world each year, and the Turn on the Tap initiative that raises funds for life-saving BioSand Water Filters in the developing world. Go to www.samaritanspurse.ca for more information.

SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information: For further information: Media Inquiries (including b-roll and still photos of shelters under construction): Martin Silbernagel, Communications Advisor, Samaritan's Purse Canada, 1-800-663-6500 or (403) 708-9667 or msilbernagel@samaritan.ca


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