Aid trickling out of airport, ministry sees glimmer of hope

By January 19, 2010

Haiti (MNN) — The United States Military says it will have the Port-au-Prince, Haiti seaport open in two or three days. This could alleviate some of the bottleneck at the small international airport in the city. More than 30 countries have rushed relief to Haiti since the devastating earthquake, choking the airspace and the ramp at the small airfield, which has only one runway.

CEO of Global Aid Network (GAIN USA) Duane Zook has been on the ground since Friday in Port-au-Prince. He says aid coordination has been an issue, especially since the earthquake hit the downtown part of Port-au-Prince. "Much of the government structure is totally gone. That's where the U.S. and others have come in to help figure out how to distribute the [aid] in a controlled environment so there's not mass confusion. I think a lot of the governments and agencies are still trying to figure that out."

However, Zook says, "One of the things we're seeing is beginning points of hope as triage centers are being set up, as feeding centers are being set up."

Zook says a container full of meals and other aid had been sent in case of an emergency weeks before the earthquake. So far, Zook says, "In three or four distribution centers, they were able to distribute 100,000 meals. That's not a lot on the one hand, and yet it's beginning to happen, and it's beginning to happen through our church partners."

Video and pictures are helping the world see the disaster the way it really is. It's sensational footage because it's a sensational story.

According to Zook, the people are doing what they can to survive. "One side of the two-lane highways are  actually closed off. People are laying out blankets and pads and so forth to sleep on. They are afraid to go back into their houses at night time in case they collapse, or else their houses are already destroyed."

While food and water are in great demand, medicine and hygiene items are, too. Zook says the shipping container is meeting some immediate needs, but they're also purchasing items in the Dominican Republic and driving them in to Haiti. GAIN is also planning on shipping in more containers as soon as the port opens.

In the midst of the tragedy, many are talking about God. Zook says, "People are questioning, and some people actually are asking, 'How can a loving God love me when I'm going through a situation like this?' Other people are actually driven toward God because they're looking for hope."

Zook observed that a number of churches were meeting Sunday. He says, however, that many congregations were much smaller. "Some of the people are still missing, and some have fled to the countryside. The rest were there, and I sensed a real joy in their dependence on God. But they're hurting."

Christians are being asked to fervently pray, give generously, and go help rebuild when the time is right. "I know everybody wants to jump on the next flight down here, but right now is not the time to do that. Down the road, that might happen. Right now, they just need orthopedic surgeons and other medical personnel to help."

If you'd like to help GAIN USA, click here.

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