Georgia stands ready to help Haiti - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia stands ready to help Haiti

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Death and devastation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where earthquake aftershocks continue to rattle the capital city, and South Georgians are lining up to help.  

Bodies of the dead are piled along the streets, some covered with tarps. Next to flattened schools lie the bodies of children. Injured people are sitting along roadsides waiting for help... hoping that doctors and aid will come.

The International Red Cross says a third of Haiti's nine million people may need emergency aid. Emergency aid is rolling in from around the world. Right here in South Georgia, churches are answering phone calls from people who want to help.

While it may be difficult to get people and supplies into the country, there are some ways you can help.

United Methodist Church is launching two campaigns to help those in Haiti. For starters, prayer, organized prayer for the people who have died, are hurt, trapped or in danger. The other resource will be money to be used to provide for their needs.

World Vision first showed up in Albany during the flood of 1994.  "We respond to disasters around the world," said Jim Ewings.

And they never left, setting up shop here. They have emergency aid available in case disaster strikes nearby.  "Part of our assistance in our first response is we have pre-positioned disaster products that we know are going to be needed."

Just like the Albany office, there's another World Vision office already in Haiti, responding to the earthquake with supplies needed.  "Shovels, boots, masks, sanitizers, personal care products and that kind of thing," Ewings said.

The United Methodist Church also has a presence in Haiti, and is actually discouraging any other teams from going over. 

"We're being instructed to not send any personnel at this time, it's just simply too dangerous and not possible to receive them," said Becky Boyd of the First United Methodist Church.

Boyd is fielding calls from folks wanting to help.  "The first thing we've been asked to do by our denomination is pray."

And they'll be taking up a special monetary collection to send over. Doing what they can to help those in such a devastating situation. 

"I believe we do it out of a response to our relationship with Christ. You just automatically want to help those in need and especially those who are in dire need and who are not able to help themselves."

Unfortunately, Worldvision's Albany office has been impacted by the recession. They'll be shutting down their office here on Friday, meaning four employees will have to find work elsewhere. The other 10 offices will remain in operation.

 Late this afternoon came word that Humanitarian supplies stored at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany by the Department of Defense's Humanitarian Assistance/Excess Property Program could be used in relief efforts for Haiti, if requested by higher headquarters.

 The agency has not received instructions for moving supplies to the earthquake stricken area, but has pre-positioned supplies ready at MCLB Albany if needed.

 

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