When a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti last month a Bethel student felt the impact. Junior Beene Capre was born in Haiti. She moved to the United States when she was 5-years-old, but says she still has family who live in Haiti.
"I can’t imagine what my people are experiencing," she said. "It breaks my heart."
She said they are Ok, but they need help.
"My dad plans on going to Haiti and helping them out,"she said. "My uncle has an organization that helps the people of Haiti and a couple of churches are donating money to that organization."The death toll from the quake stands at 150,000 and officials say that number could double. Aid agencies said food, water and basic supplies were reaching more people, but that clinics were also starting to see more infections and complications from amateur medical treatment.
The U.S. military has expanded its role in the effort to get supplies to people who need them. Money is pouring in from relief agencies all over the world, but officials in Haiti say much more is needed.
Bill Hossler, President of the Missionary Church, sent out a memo to pastors in response to the disaster. He reminded people to move beyond simply attempting to relate to the tragedy.
"It is not just enough to feel sympathy for them and then to walk to the other side of the road," he said in the memo. "You want to be a good Samaritan, but you are not sure what is the best response. [It is important to remember that] we are not a first responder organization. We are part of the support and follow-up team."
Hossler said prayer will be a vital role for the support and follow- up team, prayer for those suffering from loss of both loved ones and the ability to live life as they did before. He also said the donation of resources seems to be the most immediate form of hands-on help that can be done at this point in time. Plans to send work teams in the future are being formulated and will play an important part in the rebuilding process.
"We will direct much of the money for Haiti Relief directly to the existing Haitian church leaders for distribution to the families who need it most," Hossler said. "This system gives the local Haitian churches direct contact with the people who will need long-term assistance."
The earthquake struck Haiti late Tuesday afternoon on Jan. 12. Its epicenter was just 10 miles from the densely-populated capital city of Port-au-Prince. The quake had a magnitude of 7.0, making it the worst earthquake to hit Haiti in 240 years.
The capital of Port-au-Prince was hit by two fresh aftershocks on Friday Jan. 22, just 10 days after the initial quake, causing much more damage and loss of life. The U.S. Geological Survey said Haiti faces a high risk of possibly damaging aftershocks for at least 30 days and is set to suffer further tremors for months or even years to come.