Phases of Disaster Response and Development: Haiti

I came across a great post by Lorelei Mah about phases of disaster response and development. Lorelei’s husband, Sammy, is the Director of World Relief. I received her permission to repost this article. You can read it at Although it references World Relief a lot it is a great thumbnail of how we engage a country after a disaster has occurred. We are partnering with World Relief by sending funds to support what they are doing in Haiti. They had staff on the ground before the earthquake.



Search and rescue phase, first 72 hours
Priority one is search and rescue for those who are trapped and may yet be sparred. In Haiti, this will include airlifting heavy machinery to remove debris.

Crisis response phase, First days to 1 month
Medical treatment for the injured.
Food and shelter, basic needs for homeless or vulnerable survivors. World Relief often engages here with survival kits, where local church networks in country are invaluable resources here

Rehabilitation phase, 1 month – 6 months, in major disasters up to one year or more
3 million have been affected by this quake, that’s 1/3 of the nation. During this phase, basic services like water and sanitation, shelter and food security are the priorities. World Relief is often very strong in this phase as churches have great connection to needy beneficiaries and organized distribution channels.

Development phase, 1 year to 5 – 7 years
Chances are, recovery will go on for years. Given the devastated state of Haiti pre-quake, development will be seriously challenged and we will be looking for churches willing to make the cause of Haiti their cause for the next 3 – 5 years. By God’s grace, the attention and money that comes to Haiti will help them overcome their persistent poverty and underdevelopment. Managed and coordinated well, US churches can play a critical role in helping Haitian churches rebuild a shattered nation.
Most of WR’s best work has come from successful development flowing from major disasters.

Transition phase, 5 – 7 years on
World Relief excels at leaving behind indigenous institutions after 10 years or so of working with locals churches and leaders. CSS in Bangladesh, EFICOR in India, LEAP in Liberia, WR Honduras, BZMF in Kosovo, CREDO in Burkina Faso… all are thriving local NGO’s, lead by Christians, often by networks of local churches, that WR has left behind.

In terms of WR assets in Haiti:

WR has a long standing commitment to Haiti and staff in place on the ground. Our country director, Dr Morquette and his wife Junie Hyacinthe (spelling?) are both Sorbonne trained doctors, well connected with the churches, medical and development communities. In addition to his work with WR, Dr Morquette also runs a hospital that, at last word, remained functional. A great staff connected to a thriving network of churches gives WR a great platform of service in this crisis.


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