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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Devastation in Haiti

Monday afternoon, mainland Haiti was struck by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake - the largest earthquake in recent history. Hundreds of thousands are presumed dead, and many are missing. Porta-au-Prince, the nation's capital, was at the center of the quake. The National Penitentiary, which held 3,908 inmates in a building with a capacity of 1,200, collapsed entirely. The Haitian National Palace stands in ruins. People are trapped under and inside buildings, and phone and power lines have been knocked down, preventing much communication throughout the entire nation.
People are in hysteria.

My sister's co-worker returned from a trip to Haiti on Monday evening, and he sent out the following e-mail yesterday:
One of the full time missionaries was in Port Au Prince at the time. Although they lost contact with him for awhile, he eventually was able to contact the main mission and is safe. He compares the scene to NYC after 9/11. There is widespread devastation with people wandering aimlessly covered by concrete dust. As nightfall began to set in, approximately an hour or so after the initial earthquake, there was widespread panic and he could hear many people screaming for help. This is a guy who is pretty battle-toughened from his years in Haiti and he was emotionally devastated by what he saw.
Although it will likely take awhile to assess the damage, already there is great concern for the future, even for those areas not directly affected by the earthquake. Food is already quite scarce and transportation and logistics horribly unreliable. There is already concern that the missions will be cut off from their food supplies, which threatens the well being of virtually the entire country. In addition, this is the rainy season in Haiti. In the best of times, the rains make even foot travel virtually impossible and often wipe out people’s homes. Given the devastation, any rain will likely have a dramatic impact. Finally, there is no real method for sewage or garbage removal through virtually all of Haiti, diseases are common and medical treatment is scarce at best and non-existent outside of the main urban areas. Simply put, the devastation we will see on the news the next couple of days is only the start of the damage. It is clear already that the earthquake will have a long term effect on the entire country – a country that was already hanging on by a thread.

I read on CNN that, "According to a Haitian ambassador to US: 'Haiti's infrastructure is the world's worst, even in the best of times.'"

CNN Reporter Pedre, who was in Port-au-Prince at the time of the quake, said, "I heard a lot of people praying, saying that Jesus is coming, saying that we need to pray, we need to save our lives by believing in God." He saw collapsed buildings every few feet, he said. And people -- mainly children -- with head injuries. People, in hysteria, thought it was the end of the world, he said.

Can you even imagine?

Click HERE to read hour-to-hour updates on


Keetha Broyles said...

I had an e-mail from World Hope, International when I got home from school. They are already there and organizing what relief they can. In case you'd like to offer a way people can HELP on this post.

sara said...

mercy ships is also on the way there. I also posted Heartline's blog site where people can donate $$ to help.

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