This morning, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Southwest Haiti leaving devastation in its wake. Fortunately, our students and staff are safe and our buildings are still standing though we are not without damage. Others there were not so fortunate as many security walls and buildings collapsed, often killing or severely injuring those inside. The general hospital in Les Cayes appears to have suffered damage and is overwhelmed with people seeking treatment, as are other hospitals in the area. To add further risk, Haiti is apparently in the path of Tropical Storm Grace which is expected to hit the island in another few days.
We are receiving heartbreaking photos and videos from our team on the ground there as they assess the damage to our facilities as well as to our neighbors homes and churches. We are working with our Advisors to determine next steps in helping our brothers and sisters in Les Cayes and the surrounding area. Please pray for those affected by this disaster and for wisdom as we consider whether to go and how best to get there. A few specific situations include:
- The family of Jimmy Jean Pierre (who is attending USC Lancaster on a scholarship) had two close calls. His sister, Rachelle (who grew up in our care) was cleaning a church when it collapsed around her this morning. Fortunately, Rachelle managed to get out alive with only bruises to show for it. His mother’s house also fell in on her leaving her injured and homeless at the moment. She will stay with neighbors.
- The church we helped to rebuild at St. Hellene, where we conducted a mobile health clinic in June, has collapsed and the home of the pastor there (Pastor Darnier) has also been destroyed. He and his family are okay and will shelter with neighbors during the storm.
- The former mayor of Les Cayes died when the hotel he owned collapsed around him. The current mayor, who is a friend to Give Hope, was with him but escaped with minor injuries.
- The home of our Haitian physician, Dr. Sony, was destroyed but thankfully, no one was injured.
- We had quite a lot of damage to the pavement at College Pain de Vie, the high school that we support, but it does not appear that the buildings have been rendered unsafe.
- Our main compound at the Cambry orphanage seems to be okay but we lost some security walls and suffered some building damage at the Darivarger orphanage, which will require rebuilding.
- Both Young Men’s Christian Homes (transition homes) escaped any serious damage and we believe all of our young men are okay.
- Pastor Louis, our ministry partner on the ground, has been actively engaged in assessing damage and preparing to receive disaster relief teams at Cambry when they can get there to help.
While it is still too early to tell exactly what needs we will be able to meet there, at a minimum we will be helping with food, tents and medications. If we are able to get a medical team there, we will either open the clinic at Cambry or work alongside the doctors at one or more of the local hospitals. If you would like to help with the expense of any of this, your donations will be appreciated. You can go to www.givehopeglobal.org/donate to make a gift or you may mail a check to Give Hope Global at PO Box 2071 Fort Mill, SC 29716.
Thank you in advance for your prayers and your support.
All the best,
Roger Braswell and Angela Quinn