News from Haiti

This is rather long, but if you'd like to know more about the conditions in Haiti as a result of the hurricane, here's Yves' report:

Dear friends of GVCM,

Greetings. This is an update on the three hurricanes that have devastated Haiti lately. I have seen natural devastations in this country, but not to this proportion. The thing is the storm of despair is an omnipresent fact for Haiti, classified as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Hannah, Gustav, and Ike only found their easy path with not much resistance. Destruction they came to do and destruction they left behind here. No one knows exactly the number of lives that have been lost, but the civil protection agency reported more than 200 dead so far, hundreds of livestock flushed down by the rivers into the sea, thousands of homes destroyed, leaving countless number of people homeless.

Food cost surge was already causing riots in the streets and with a lot of the small farm plantations devastated we can predict that the days to come will be somber for the people of Haiti. We are really worrying about that potential famine that will affect mostly the children. Our school principals were already complaining about the inability for the children to concentrate in the classrooms because of hunger. Transportation has also become an additional plague. Many of the limited roads are cut off, bridges have fallen and river beds are full, preventing easy crossings. No gas can get to Cap Haitian from Port-au-Prince and a gallon of diesel costs about $13 US.

Many of our humble church structures are compromised and many of our church members are homeless. I talked to Pastor Thomas from the church of Beudoret in the north this morning who confirmed to me that he got stranded in Beudoret where he was preaching a week of revival, and could not join his family in Port-au-Prince because the road from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian was cut off by fallen bridges. From place to place the road was cut off. He had to walk many miles when he could not find a motorcycle to take him to the next cut off point. When he got to Gonaives, the town that was two story under water, he had to walk in the infested water up to his neck. He finally made it to Montruis he found a rock and sat on it to spend the night waiting for the next vehicle to come by and take him to Port-au-Prince. He reported that the roof of the school building has been compromised making it unsure the children can start school on October 7.

Five members of the church lost their humble homes and many more have roof damage. School was supposed to start on September 8, but so many school buildings have been damaged, and people are so busy picking up after the hurricane that the government decided to push it back until October 7.

Pastor Claude from Hinche (the Central Plateau) reported that four of the thatch structure where the people were worshiping are down and many members are without a roof.
In Mirebalais, four rivers joined and pushed against each other to create an ocean in the middle of town. Those rivers carried so many branches of trees and debris that the back of the bridge on the Latem river was clogged while the raging water continued to push against it. Finally the bridge collapsed and part of the town was submerged. Many houses were destroyed and many people in town do not have a place to sleep right now.

Our own surveyor, Anne, only had time to save his family when the uninvited water took over his house. A lady, Mrs. Francois, was almost blocked in when the flow of water brought big trees inside the house. I went to witness a stump that is bigger than the doorway forced by the water inside the house. Even though Mrs. Francois lost her business and most of her belongings, she praises God that her family’s life is safe. About 250 people are reported homeless in that small town of Mirebalais. Some organization like the Rotary Club are trying to help but they are overwhelmed by the scope of the people’s needs.

Gonaives, the fourth largest city in Haiti, got a similar treatment four years ago when hurricane Jeane submerged the city and more than 3000 were reported dead. This time the water was even taller but the lesson learned four years ago put the people on their guards. They are still assessing the number of dead but not as many as before. Roger September, the pastor of the Saint Martin church reported many people from the congregation in despair after losing most of their crops. His own brother became a victim with his leg broken after his foot got hooked in-between underwater rebar. A pregnant lady was pulled up on the roof of a two story building to escape the water. While up there she went in labor and gave birth in the rain. With no help, both she and the baby died shortly after.

In Bois Gerard, pastor Yvon Simprival reported that the structure where the church and the school were meeting is completely destroyed leaving him with uncertainty about the only school of that small community. The same situation prevails also in Nan Baptiste, where pastor Saint Pierre reported two of the children homes destroyed and one without a roof.
My friends, this is the story of a few among many in this country where people were already trying unsuccessfully to make ends meet. GVCM is here to help, but the burden of our responsibility is heavy and we can really only do what you allow us to. You have been faithfully pulling us out of many holes. This is one like I have never seen before. I don’t know if Haiti will ever recover from this one, nonetheless we have been called to carry the banner of the gospel in front of the afflicted, and the bruised, and the desperate. To let them know that God cares and we care.

We really covet your prayers for this situation and the salvation of the Haitian people. We also would ask you to think about different ways you might be able to help. Please talk to your heart, your churches, and your friends about landing a hand to alleviate the terrible situation of many here in Haiti.

We would like to help with the feeding programs that many missionary sister organizations are involved with right now. Please help if you can!

We also are puzzled about what to do to alleviate the situation with many of our affected churches. Please help!

We would like to provide Pastor Thomas with a motorcycle so that he can find a way to make it back to Beudoret. Please help!

We would like to help with the rebuilding of the homes of some the homeless people in Mirebalais. Please help!

May the Lord continue to shower you with His grace and Blessings.

Yves Prophete
Executive Director