Long-Term Assistance Needed in Haiti

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2004 07:24 AM EST

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti/GENEVA – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) representative in Haiti, Michael Kuehn, is calling for long-term assistance to Haiti, in hope to focus more on crisis prevention.

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko addressed that humanitarian organizations in Haiti have been unable to properly assess the needs of population that urgent action is needed to alleviate the situation and assist those in need.

Analyzing the current situation, Kuehn stressed the need for psycho-social support for the vulnerable in society, the sick, women, children, rural populations and marginalized urban groups, who constitute almost 80 percent of the country's population.

Kuehn noted the current situation of Haiti needs to strengthen civil society and its participation in building up Haiti. "We must continue to work along these lines with our partners in Haiti. But it also is important not to lose sight of the fact that state institutions are weak," he stated. Civil society, he stressed, cannot act reasonably if state institutions do not provide the necessary structural guarantees. The LWF/Department for World Service (DWS) Haiti program focuses on strengthening civil society, human rights work and establishing democratic values.

Kuehn also addressed the need of putting efforts in reconciliation that in the future, there will be more programs focusing on peace-making in dealing with conflicts between the opposition and Aristide’s supporters.

Kuehn stressed the importance of coordination between non-governmental organizations and UN agencies, strengthening emergency-aid measures, and ensuring international cooperation in development policy.

LWF/DWS will also work to fight against poverty as the current food shortage has exceededthe ordinary level.