Haiti – One Year After the Devastation

Date Posted: 1/26/2011

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that devastated the Caribbean nation the United Methodist Committee on Relief renewed its commitment to walk “hand-in-hand” with the Haitian people “on the long road ahead” to recovery.


“We pledge to work with you to strengthen the livelihoods, shelters, education, and health of the Haitian people; we commit ourselves to stand beside you as we navigate the holistic recovery of body, mind, and spirit, so that all Haitians may not just survive but thrive,” Melissa Crutchfield, UMCOR executive for International Disaster Response, told a gathering led by the Protestant Federation of Haiti, in Port-au-Prince.


The Haitian government again revised the death toll from the quake. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said that more than 316,000 had been killed in the disaster.


General Board of Global Ministries leaders Bishop Bruce Ough, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, Thomas Kemper, and Rev. Cynthia Harvey recently traveled to Haiti to meet with Eglise Methodiste d’Haiti (EMH, Methodist Church of Haiti) and renew their promise of solidarity and ongoing partnership.


“I hope the people of the Texas Annual Conference will continue to pray for the people of Haiti, pray for the church, for UMCOR and for all those engaged in the rebuilding of Haiti,” said Bishop Janice Riggle Huie. “This is a long term project. It will probably take 10 years or more. It will require patience, perseverance and an incredible emphasis of hope in action.”


Called and Committed

Earthquake survivor and UMCOR consultant Rev. Jim Gulley recently reflected in a United Methodist Communications video on the work he’s done in Haiti – from the ministry that placed him in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake to the 55 hours spent trapped in the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Portau- Prince to his recent trips to the island nation.


Reflecting on his time trapped with his colleagues Rev. Sam Dixon and Rev. Clint Rabb – who were posthumously named United Methodists of the Year in December – Gulley said they prayed and sang through the final hours of the lives of his colleagues and friends. Since that time, he’s also met the owner of the hotel, who was trapped for 100 hours.


“Anytime we think of our own situation and how difficult it was, there’s someone there whose life has been affected even more radically than our own,” said Gulley. Gulley commended the United Methodist Church for its generosity. “I think more than $43 million has been raised,” he said. “It’s going to cost between $11-$14 billion to rebuild Haiti or as they say, build Haiti back better. The $43 million we’ve given is great, but we ought not to grow weary in our generosity. We should continue that.”


“There is more work going on than sometimes meets the eye on the television screen,” Huie said. “The television picks up the worst. “It is difficult to overstate the challenges of rebuilding in Haiti…The brightest spot in all this, that I saw, is through the Methodist Church of Haiti, United Methodist Volunteers [Partners] In Mission and UMCOR, the people of the UMC and the efforts of volunteers, several smaller projects should be completed by the end of January.”