Aid to Haiti suspended pending review

The Episcopal Church in the USA has suspended its Haitian fundraising appeals pending a reorganization of relief efforts for the diocese. On 27 July 2016 a spokesman for the Episcopal Church told AI Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Director of Development Tara Holley had halted the campaign temporarily “to insure that the efforts for Haiti run more smoothly.  Plans are being formulated and have not been announced as of yet.” On 12 Jan 2010, Haiti — already the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere — was struck by an earthquake that devastated the capital Port-au-Prince. Much of the city was devastated and the church’s Holy Trinity Cathedral (pictured) and neighboring school and convent were badly damaged. The Episcopal Church has been raising money to alleviate poverty as well as rebuild churches for the 86,000 Episcopalians on the island. However, concerns over the misdirection of funds — in both the secular and religious worlds — have led to a slowdown in aid disbursement. In a report to the church’s executive council in June, Ms. Holley said: “We’re looking for accountability, for transparency, for leadership, thoughtful reporting, accurate reporting, and job descriptions … that will make things in Haiti run more smoothly.” According to a report of the meeting released by the Episcopal News Service, Bishop Curry said he had temporarily suspended aid, noting that while rebuilding was important, it must be done “in such a way that we can engender enough confidence so that a [fundraising] campaign can actually get the job done.” A complaint of financial misconduct has also been lodged with the Episcopal Church’s ecclesiastical courts. A disciplinary panel is currently investigating the Rt. Rev. Zaché Durecin for allegedly pocketing disaster aid and channeling church money to associates. However, a spokesman for the church noted the Presiding Bishop’s decision to suspend aid was “made on the basis of the development aspects in Haiti and were not influenced by other factors.”

 

 
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