Haiti quake: World Vision prepares relief goods; needs seen massive

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - World Vision will begin assessing damages and preparing emergency supplies to help children and families devastated by the major earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday. The relief, development and advocacy organization has worked in Haiti for 30 years and has some 370 staff in the country.

Relief efforts have been hampered overnight with phone lines cut, roads blocked and continuing aftershocks in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince. World Vision Haiti's national director, Frank Williams, reported that "walls from buildings and private residences fell into the streets, which has significantly blocked most traffic."

"It felt as if a truck had hit a wall," said Magalie Boyer, World Vision staff in Port-au-Prince, about the initial tremor. "There is extensive damage in the city. People are getting ready to spend the night in the streets. They are not comfortable staying in their houses."

"World Vision Haiti will distribute first aid kits to survivors, along with basic materials such as soap, blankets, clothes and bottles of water as an initial response," Boyer added.

Meanwhile, World Vision staff from less affected regions of Haiti are doing what they can to bring much needed emergency supplies into the worst affected areas. International staff with relief expertise will be arriving in Haiti as needed.

Crystal Penner, a Canadian aid worker with World Vision, was in the central plateau region of Haiti when the quake hit. "There are relief goods prepositioned in various locations across the country, though the challenge will be getting those supplies swiftly to those in need," she said.

"We would be very concerned about a quake of this magnitude anywhere in the world, but it is especially devastating in Haiti, where children and their families are acutely vulnerable because of poor infrastructure and extreme poverty," said Emmanuel Isch, World Vision Canada's Vice President of International and Canadian Programs.

Reaching hard-hit areas with supplies is expected to be a significant challenge due to damaged roads and infrastructure, including the main airport and government buildings.

World Vision is accepting donations to assist those affected by the crisis. Those wishing to help can visit WorldVision.ca/help or call 1-800-363-5021.

    -   World Vision donors support more than 52,000 children in Haiti,
        including more than 10,800 children sponsored by Canadians.

    -   World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
        organization dedicated to working with children, families and
        communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves
        all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: To interview World Vision staff or for more information, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Britt Hamilton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3973, (416) 419-1321 (cell), britt_hamilton@worldvision.ca

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