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Adventist relief team entering Haiti today with medical, emergency supplies

ADRA, Inter-America coordinate efforts to aid Port-au-Prince

A team of Seventh-day Adventist Church relief workers is on its way to the Dominican Republic border and is expected to cross into Haiti later today.

The first wave of assistance brings medical supplies and emergency goods to the country after a 7.0 - magnitude earthquake left the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince in ruins Tuesday evening. Tens of thousands are thought to be dead.

The team, consisting of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) workers, medical personnel from partner organization Global Medic and Inter-American church leaders, will deliver supplies, pass out water purification tablets and set up emergency care clinics.

The team will also assess the situation for the next round of relief work, which ADRA has pledged in the amount of $1 million.

ADRA President Charles Sandefur said the organization is fully committed to providing quick solutions to the urgent need in Haiti.

"We will continue to do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of those affected in this incredible tragedy," Sandefur said.

Four mobile clinics set up by ADRA and Global Medic will aid up to 1,000 patients each per day, and the water treatment supplies will provide safe drinking water for up to 90,000 people per day.

The staff will also distribute vitamins, pain medicine and antibiotics donated to ADRA by Heart to Heart International.

Wally Amundson, director for ADRA in Inter-America, acknowledged that providing sufficient aid right now is a challenge.

"With the lack of communication in Haiti, we don't know how much is available locally or how much we would need to draw on from the Dominican Republic, which is a potential source of supply line and hub for the relief effort," Amundson said via satellite phone.

Inter-American church leaders on the team will coordinate trauma counseling with the help of disaster response experts. The Inter-American workers also hope to gather more facts about church members in Port-au-Prince.

So far, church leadership reports that thousands of Haitian church members are still missing, while one local pastor has been reported dead. There were 100,000 Adventists living in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake.

Structural loss to church property currently includes damage to two of the city's largest churches, the university and hospital. The university is currently using campus grounds as a refuge for hundreds of displaced persons. Hospital staff has resumed medical operations inside the hospital, Loma Linda University volunteers reported.

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Reporting by Nadia McGill, Libna Stevens