World Vision is proud of Church response to the hurricane

By September 12, 2005

USA (MNN) — Hurricane Katrina relief and now recovery continues to headline news throughout the world. It’s being called the worst natural disaster in United States history. Many people have died, thousands of homes have been destroyed and thousands remain displaced. But, World Vision says the church has responded.

Many in the United States believe race had a part in the response time to hurricane victims. Vice President of World Vision Steven Haas says the church has responded with open arms. “The disproportionate numbers of people that have been impact have been the African American community. The most trusted institution for them is the church. The first place they went, was to the church. From the church leaders I have been with, I have seen such heroism it has made me one very, very proud individual to be a part of this thing we call the church.”

He says the church, especially the African American church, is helping sacrificially. Haas has been amazed at the decisions taking place as they help. “People begin to say, ‘why are you doing this? What drove you to be kind to me?’ And, obviously that opens up an opportunity for someone to share who they are, what they’re relationship with Christ is all about, and in a very natural way just continue the conversation.”

World Vision has a reputation of responding quickly to natural disasters. However, Haas says this response is unique. “Typically we do not handle domestic disasters because typically there are the social safety nets, when this thing hit, it took everyone by surprise,” says Haas.

World Vision is raising money for the American Family Assistance Fund. Haas says it’s the money needed to help the victims is completely unknown. “When compassion begins to fatigue a bit, when the hotels that these people are in finally decide to go back to doing business as usual, and they can no longer afford to stay, because of that the dollars needed for this disaster are still being calculated.”

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