Friday, September 12, 2008

Update on what's Happening in Haiti

The bridge leading to town:No, you're right,there is no bridge!

Canoeing across

Night at the hospital

Water Line high above this toddler bed at a nearby house

Preparing things to distribute in the community

Most of you have heard by now that Hurricane Ike has passed Haiti, but in its wake left many parts of the country devastated. All over this island nation, countless families have lost loved ones, their homes, belongings and livelihoods.
God has been faithful and merciful to Haiti Children’s Home and though the flood waters passed the orphanage, water did not even TOUCH its walls. The staff and children were forced to evacuate early Sunday morning(Sept 7th) and were safely brought to the hospital where they spent the night in very cramped quarters. Early Monday morning it was obvious that the water was not going to effect the compound, and so they packed all of the supplies and returned everyone home. During this time they discovered that upstream in the Artibonite River, two trucks that had been washed downstream had jammed on the bridge in Mirebalais, and after effectively damning the river, the force of the water and rain from Hurricane Ike caused the bridge to collapse. The water that had built up then flooded the area downriver from the bridge, adding to the destruction it had already been caused upriver by the damn the trucks had made. The same type of incident occurred west of the orphanage, and thus HCH has been left on a sort of island. This means that they are unable to get a vehicle across the river to go to the city to obtain supplies and if necessary, emergency medical aide. There are makeshift boats carrying people across the river, so it is possible to get across, but then there is the very expensive need to find and hire a driver, and with gas at $5/gallon it is very important to make sure trips are planned effectively. The pastor from the church HCH attends has been very gracious and has offered the use of his vehicle when possible.
At this time, the staff at HCH has had to tighten the belt a bit, as they do not know how dependable the food supply is going to be. Many farmers have lost their land and produce, and so already they are finding it harder to obtain staples and then there is the chore of getting it across the river. Milk is not available in Mirebalais at this time, and so they have had to cut back to giving milk only to those under 2 years, though they continue to use milk in the preparation of all the children’s food. There is milk available in the city, but the funds are not yet in place to make it a worthwhile trip (it costs approx. $40-50/day to provide milk to 40 children and babies). A psychologist was sent to debrief the children, and he was amazed at the behaviour and education shown during his visit. He said he had never seen anything like it and was very happy with how the children were coping with their experience.
However, God continues to care for HCH and they have been given food from the World Food Program which has helped them and also neighbour’s close-bye. There are 30 families near the home who have lost everything, including their homes. The staff at Haiti Children’s Home is seeing that they have been spared from the damaging effects of the flood so that they can help those around them. The last few days have been spent helping one neighbour a day remove mud and debris from their homes, and sorting and finding extra clothes and supplies to help neighbour’s and other people in Mirebalais who have nothing. Every afternoon they open the gate and allow people to come and take water from the well, filling a huge need in the community. The mayor from Mirebalais has been very helpful, and through his efforts the hospital and orphanage were able to obtain power yesterday morning. This has allowed Melinda and Pat and other HCH staff to share their thoughts and pictures with their friends and family, and we have attached some of that information to this letter. Please prayerfully consider financially supporting Haiti Children’s Home during this difficult time. There are many needs to be filled both within and outside the compound walls, and your involvement will make a significant impact on the lives of many.


Paul DenHaan said...

Hey Lori,
Thanks for the updates... one comment on spelling... you might want to edit 'damn' with 'dam'... big difference in meaning...
Paul D.