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Compassion team ‘locked-down’ in Haiti

By December 10, 2010

Haiti (MNN) — Election violence is also plaguing a ministry that's focused on children. Compassion International has been working in Haiti for more than 60 years. They serve about 65,000 children in this country which not only faces election violence, but is still reeling from the 7.0 earthquake that hit the nation last January.

Spokeswoman for Compassion International Kathy Redmond says, "We sent a story-gathering team down there just this week. They arrived on Tuesday, and it looks like they've been in lock-down the entire time  they've been there because of the unrest and the demonstrations going on in the streets. They can't leave because the airport has been shut down."

Redmond says it appears that another part of their aid distribution is stymied. "We even have teams that are trying to distribute water filtration systems — 6,000 of them. We haven't heard anything back from them at this point. It's a really tense situation in Haiti right now. We're not sure how long this is going to last."

The Compassion team has been able to send pictures back from Port-au-Prince showing riots in the streets, flags burning, cars being overturned, and utter chaos.

National staff members are believed to be safe as are the children assisted by Compassion International.

Redmond says the rioting stems from what's being called a "flawed" election. "I believe all 19 candidates have said that the election was fraudulent and therefore doesn't stand. And of course, in January we have the run-off election, which [will result in] more rioting."

Those elections in January could be right in the middle of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed thousands of people and left millions homeless.

Riots broke out about a month ago as Haitians were blaming the UN for bringing cholera into the country. Redmond says these demonstrations could only cause more difficulty. "If you think of the cholera, these demonstrations are preventing people from getting help."

As Compassion works through the local church, believers are sharing their faith as the riots continue.

Redmond says Compassion will continues serving the people of Haiti, and your financial support is needed to make that possible. Perhaps you can sponsor a child, or give to their emergency response fund. She's also asking you to pray "that the country will be stabilized and that the right person will emerge to lead the country out of the devastation that it's in and toward rebuilding and restructuring, and really a complete rehabilitation of Haiti that has not happened."

If you'd like to assist Compassion International, click here.

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