SCIENTOLOGY VOLUNTEER MINISTERS IN THE NEXT PHASE OF HAITI DISASTER RELIEF

Four months after the earthquake, an overview of the accomplishments and what remains to be done

Four months since the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response team carries on its work in hospitals and clinics while they train disaster workers, refugees, teachers and students and help in the reconstruction effort.  Since January 12, 2010, more than 300 Scientology Volunteer Ministers from 21 countries have given aid to more than 300,000 people, including thousands of orphans, in the form of shelter, food, medical care, training and trauma counseling.

Within a week of the disastrous day, the Church of Scientology chartered the first of the six flights that transported 369 medical professionals and rescue workers to Haiti with Volunteer Ministers to support them in their work. They also transported 263,000 pounds of food, medical and other supplies to the country, and distributed it to refugees, charities, schools, hospitals and clinics.

The medical infrastructure in ruins, Scientology Volunteer Ministers assisted in operating rooms, delivered babies, organized medical supplies and cared for and fed patients.  For weeks, Scientology Volunteer Ministers worked in the General Hospital of Port-au-Prince and the University of Miami tent hospital and in makeshift hospitals and clinics around the city. One Volunteer Minister team helped a Haitian aid organization rebuild an orphanage that now cares for 111 orphans.  Others teamed up with military and aid organizations to distribute food and medical supplies throughout western Haiti.

With hundreds of thousands dead and injured, Scientology volunteers have been providing one-on-one help, seminars, workshops and classes in technology developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that help people cope with stress, loss, grief, pain and shock.

Reaching out with organizational and logistics support to refugee camps in Port-au-Prince and outlying towns, Volunteer Ministers have helped set up eight camps around Haiti and another one on the Dominican Republic border to help refugees and bring food and supplies into Haiti. They have also trained more than 281 Haitian Volunteer Minister teams that have joined them in helping in neighborhoods and camps throughout the region.

The next phase of Haiti relief is the long-term work to rebuild the country, and Volunteer Ministers are active in this too, working with local residents to construct shelters and reconstruct sewage and water systems.

Created more than 30 years ago by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, the Volunteer Ministers program has expanded to 203,000 Volunteer Ministers worldwide who have served at 175 major disaster sites.  More than 800 Volunteer Ministers responded to the World Trade Center disaster; 500 from 11 nations served in relief efforts in Southeast Asia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami; nearly one thousand volunteered in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  They have been featured on Good Morning America and CNN and in stories in National Geographic, The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Volunteer Ministers have trained and partnered with more than 800 different groups, organizations and agencies including the Red Cross, FEMA, the National Guard, and police and fire departments and are active members of VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters). Their work in Haiti is an example of how they carry out the Volunteer Ministers motto: “Something can be done about it.”

For more information on the Scientology Haiti Disaster Response, visit the Volunteer Ministers blog.