Being Prepared

Baby Care Kits soaked by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti dry in the sunshine. Generous community members washed the baby clothing, blankets and diapers, reassembled the kits, and distributed them to families in critical need. (Photo: Lutheran World Federation)

“BE PREPARED” – it’s the Boy Scouts’ motto, and our pantries, tornado shelters and “car trunk emergency supplies” all seem to affirm the fact that having some necessities on hand in case of an emergency is a good idea.

In relief work, we call that idea preparedness and in LWR projects around the world, preparedness is often woven into the overall project plan. For example, we work with communities to save seeds for future growing seasons, firm up river banks, build homes on safer sites, all in hopes that these precautions will help limit the impact of the next drought, flood or storm. Quilts and kits can also be part of a preparedness plan, especially when LWR pre-positions those items in a secure location close to regions particularly vulnerable to emergencies.

One way we do that is through our membership in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Through this partnership, Quilts and Personal Care Kits have been distributed to people in Gaza who were displaced by conflict in July of 2014, and to people in Nepal whose homes were destroyed by the earthquake in April of 2015. And our partner, Lutheran World Federation, was grateful to have Personal Care and Baby Care Kits pre-positioned in Haiti when Hurricane Matthew ripped through country, affecting more than 1.4 million people. Though the kits were stored safely and securely, the power of the storm blew the roofs off most of the buildings in the storage compound. As a result, many of the Baby Care Kits were soaked by the rain.

Generous community members opened up all of the kits and meticulously washed all the baby clothing, blankets and diapers, which you can see drying in the picture above. They then reassembled the kits, and distributed them to families in Les Cayes and Aquin, some of the hardest hit areas in the country. Amazingly, our partners were still able to share the kits in the earliest days following the storm, providing comfort and basic necessities to families in critical need.

Additional quilts and kits, as well as water filtration units, were shipped to Haiti immediately following the hurricane, and LWR’s team of staff and partners on the ground will continue working with communities and the Haitian government to support recovery and rebuilding efforts in the months to come.

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Thanks to your gifts and the hard work of LWR’s country staff and partners, a little preparation went a long way!