Jim Nicholson MEP thanked Northern Irish people for their ‘extraordinary response to an extraordinary disaster’ today – the first anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.
The MEP led an EU delegation to the disaster-affected nation in August 2010 to assess reconstruction work funded by the EU.
On his visit he met the Prime Minister and President of Haiti, as well as staff from relief and development agencies including Tearfund.
Mr Nicholson shared his experiences at a reception for church leaders and those who supported Tearfund’s Haiti appeal at 10am this morning at Christian Fellowship Church, Belfast.
Tearfund Vice President Bishop Harold Miller, former Presbyterian Moderator Stafford Carson and Christian Fellowship Church pastor Andy McCourt prayed for those still affected by the disaster.
Tim Magowan, Northern Ireland Director for Tearfund said: “Despite a challenging recession, our Northern Irish supporters have given over £1million to our Haiti Appeal.
“As a result of this incredible generosity, givers across the UK and Ireland have been able to bring help and hope to some 250,000 people whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake.”
The funds raised in the Haiti appeal have paid for medical assistance, food and hygiene kits and emergency water supplies for 150,000 people.
Grants were issued to 4,000 families to buy necessities and to restart businesses, and almost 1,000 people received trauma counselling.
Disease prevention workshops have also been held to teach people about the risks of cholera and HIV, and entire communities have been educated about how to prepare for future disasters.
In addition, nearly 6,000 children have attended weekly health clubs, homes for 3,000 people are in the process of being built and Tearfund is working in more than 140 schools training teachers, providing shelters, and building vital amenities.
Mr Nicholson said: “Nothing could have prepared me for the devastation I witnessed in Haiti. However, when I met Tearfund staff I was struck by how well local churches were already working on the ground to provide short-term relief and then enable people to get back on their feet.”
Individuals and churches can download a short film on Tearfund’s website here - highlighting the impact your support has made.
We can’t predict the next disaster, but with your continued help, we can prepare for it. By taking action today you can save lives in the future. If you would like to support us in being ready for disasters like Haiti, visit our giving page here.
Jim Nicholson will also share his experiences at Tearfund’s Re:Ignite conference on 5th February, details of which are on Tearfund NI’s blog – http://tearfund.tumblr.com/