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Baptist volunteers temporarily suspend work in Haiticomment (0)

December 23, 2010

After facing three days of escalating civil unrest in Haiti, along with the continuing outbreak of cholera, Florida and Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers suspended their work and returned to the United States on Dec. 10.

Eddie Blackmon, rebuild coordinator for Florida and Southern Baptist disaster relief, and other volunteers were holed up at the Florida Mission House for three days after rioting began Dec. 7. Florida Baptists have had personnel stationed in Haiti since the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The unrest in Port-au-Prince began with the announced results of the presidential election, requiring a runoff between two candidates.

By Dec. 12, all teams had arrived back in Miami safely. The rebuild team plans to return in January.

Meanwhile, with more than 2,000 confirmed deaths and as many as 100,000 cases of cholera, Florida Baptist officials have sent another $30,000 to Haiti to purchase bottled water and water purification supplies to help stop the spread of the disease.

Cholera is caused by drinking polluted water containing the vibrio cholerac bacteria, which can result in diarrhea and vomiting. The resulting dehydration can lead to death.

With the additional funding, Florida Baptists have provided more than $67,500 since Oct. 25 to help churches affiliated with Confraternite Missionaire Baptist de Haiti (CMBH) combat the spread of and treat the disease.

Craig Culbreth, who directs Florida Baptists’ partnership missions department, reported that as many as 15 Haitian Baptists have died from cholera, including two pastors, a pastor’s wife and two entire families with five and seven members.

Florida Baptists have been in a 15-year partnership with CMBH churches, growing the organization from 88 churches in 1995 to more than 1,200 congregations today.  (BP)

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