Appeal launched to help thousands struck by devastating Haiti earthquake

The Methodist Church in Britain has launched an emergency appealand granted £20,000 in immediate aid to Haiti after a catastrophicearthquake rocked the Caribbean nation yesterday.

Reports revealed that the 7.0-magnitude quake, the worst to hit thecountry in two centuries, tore down the HQ of the UN Mission, thepresidential palace and thousands of homes in the space of a minuteat 16.53 Haitian time and 21.53 GMT. Survivors used themicro-blogging site Twitter to report on the unfoldingtragedy.

Revd Marcus Torchon, a Haitian Methodist minister serving in theLiverpool District on an exchange programme, said: "I am stillwaiting for news from family members who are missing. I managed tospeak to my nephew after the quake happened, but since that phonecall there were more than 10 after-shocks. Now the line is deadbecause the major phone networks are down.

"It is really destabilising emotionally. Practically, I would liketo be of service to them. I feel that at some point I may have togo there when the airport is open. At the end of the day, we havenothing but our faith in God."

Revd Tom Quenet, Partnership Coordinator for the Americas andCaribbean, established contact with the President of the MethodistChurch in the Caribbean and the Americas at 3am GMT today. Tomsaid: "Following the damage caused by four successive hurricanesthat hit the island in 2008, I fear that the people of Haiti willwake up to scenes of devastation, fear and loss of life."

Haiti's Methodist church is the largest membership district of theMethodist Church in the Caribbean & the Americas with 12,000members.

Tom Osbeck from aviation ministry Air Calvary said: "The buildings,homes, businesses and hospitals of Port-au-Prince are flattened. Westand outside and weep as we hear thousands of crying people.Thousands have died - many, many around our house."

David Carwell of Mission Aviation Fellowship said: "All kinds ofthings in our house shook and slid and came tumbling to the floor.There have been many aftershocks and tremors. They seem to beweakening, but I doubt if it's over yet."

The Methodist Church in Britain is appealing to people to maketheir response through the World Mission Fund while internationalrelief agencies and governments work to bring relief toHaitians.

Donations can be made through the Just Giving webpage here: or by sending a cheque payable to the WorldMission Fund and posting it to Dave Bennett, FundraisingCoordinator, at Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London,NW1 5JR. Postal donations should be labelled 'Haiti Appeal'.

Further information from Revd Tom Quenet or Carole Richmond,Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR. Tel:0207 486 5502

A special prayer for the people of Haiti is available online here:www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=opentogod.content&cmid=2890.