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HAITI REPORT

Posted by (terry) on May 27 2010 at 8:25 PM
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H A N D S   A C R O S S  T H E  S E A  -  H A I T I

Agape Flights Inc. - PaP 11056,  100 Airport Ave.  Venice, Florida  34285
Karen R. Huxter, Director
Luckner Estimable, Assistant Director


January 15, 2010

Hello again from the HATS-Haiti Mission in Haiti.

This is not an easy update to write but I feel I should.  You are asking me to keep in touch about what is happening as I see it and I will endeavour to do so.

Thank you to all who are continuing to get in touch and wanting to help due to the the earthquake.   Since the arrival of the workteam a blog has been done daily. http://www.haititeam2010.blogspot.com   The team has been doing a great job of keeping people informed of what has been happening.

To the regular readers of the " HATS blog "  http://www.hatshaiti.blogspot.com  I am sorry the blogging that the team has been doing is not yet available on the HATS blog.  This will be rectified when my two daughters arrive back home this weekend.  Dana and Liette, thank you very much for doing all you could while in Jamaica.   I appreciate your help very much.

On Thursday, two days after the quake, I went to Port au Prince with Gerry, who is the team leader, Luckner, and others, two of whom were police.  Before leaving we prepared meals that could feed 300 people, bought water for  660 people and did up 100 bags of clothing and shoes to distribute.  The workteam arrived from Canada with a lot of shoes and clothes for students in our school and church.  With the disaster in Port au Prince the supplies were needed badly there so it was all bagged and distributed there.  Thanks go to everyone in Canada who donated these supplies.   

Preparing to go to PaP

Thursday was a day I will remember the rest of my life.  I saw more than enough to last a lifetime.  I've seen a lot of death since I've lived in Haiti.  Nothing that I've seen before in person, or on television, can compare with what I saw in Port au Prince.

Death and Destruction

On the way in on Thursday we were listening to the news on a Haitian radio station.  The announcer said that the estimates of deaths could be as high as 600,000.  I thought that was a large estimate but after what I saw Thursday it is believable. Houses with whole families.  Schools filled with students. Universities filled with people.  Hospitals filled with patients.  Large stores filled with  workers and shoppers.  The largest market in PaP with thousands of people.  It is almost too difficult to write about.  I have cried a great deal for the people here and now I must do everything I can to help those who are left.

One street of hundreds that look like this


On the drive in we saw three big buses heading out of PaP filled to overflowing, with as many people sitting on the roof as there were inside.  In almost 15 years here that is the first time I have people sitting on top of the buses like that.  People need to get out of the city.  People are trying to get back to whatever area they had come from.  People are trying to get away from the death and stench and trying to save themselves from dying from a disease that can follow something like this.

SCHOOL
Just before we reached PAP we came to places where the road had heaved and cracked.   We headed to  Delmas, one of the main and busiest streets in PAP.  We saw buildings that had collapsed everywhere. We stopped at a school that had 1050 students and teachers.  It had collapsed, with almost all inside.  The death toll was very high there.  We talked to one young man who escaped, but his brother (the director of the school) did not.  I saw a man looking into a hole under the rubble of the school and crying.  He could see his brother trapped there under the fallen building but could not get him out.  A group of men where standing on the pile of fallen cement trying to get bodies out but with almost no tools.  A large group of people, parents and other family members of those trapped inside, were standing around waiting and hoping that the bodies of their children could be found.

Searching for family members

The stench in the city is beyond belief.  There is the smell of death everywhere.  Most of the people were wearing masks or they had their mouth and nose covered with something.   We knew before we left that we would see death, but it was more than I could imagine.  There were bodies everywhere covered  and uncovered.  At one place there were people trying to dig people out by hand and I could hear someone crying underneath.   I saw a child half outside a fallen house but the other half underneath a huge pile of broken cement.  Dear God, these things are enough to rip one's heart out.   We wanted to help more but knew there was nothing more we could do.

We drove past the President`s Palace, the Justice Building, and other government buildings.  All were either partially or totally destroyed.   It will take a very long time before the government can operate in this country again.  Actually, it will be a very long time before anything operates in Port au Prince again.  Port au Prince is no longer there. 


Palace 

Every time we stopped to distribute the food, water, or clothes, small riots occurred, with people running from all directions, screaming, yelling, and grabbing.  We had to leave quickly and go somewhere else to distribute.   But the same thing would happen every time.  People are so desperate.  They need food and water desperately.  There is no shelter, no water, or no food available in what was PAP right now, other than what is coming in by the aid workers.  People are living, crowded together, in fields, out on lawns, wherever they can find a spot where there are no buildings near them which might still collapse.



Distribution of supplies by us in Port

(Karen Huxter at door)
 






When we passed the airport area we were thankful to see a  military plane that had been bringing supplies.  But, a ton of food and water is needed.  How is enough help going to get to the people?

Military supply plane

Wednesday, the day after the quake, the young man, Manes, from Lachapelle,  through whom I took the last three children - Leica, Dieunel and Judel - dropped by the mission to see if we were okay.  He said he had been concerned about the building I live in because of the water tower on top.  Too, he let me know he was headed to PaP to look for two brothers.  He had no idea if they had survived.  Today he came to see me and said one of his brothers did not make it and he is very much afraid his other brother is also dead. He wrapped his brother's body in plastic and brought it home on the top of a bus.  He said he had to put him into the ground right away when he got home.  He plans to go back to PaP again next week to continue to look for his other brother.  Too, in the quake, this young man lost his house and the house he had been using to feed the children he was helping.  We gave him a big tarp so his family and others can sleep on it, some of the food from the school supply, and $500 H.   Too, we prayed with him while here.  He was very grateful for the little we were able to do.  He told me he had cried so much this week that he is now numb and feels half dead.  Feeling half dead is how most of us are functioning. 

BACK AT LACHAPELLE
Today I had to take my oldest child, Serlande, to the hospital.  She has not been well for a few days but I could not take her earlier as the hospital was closed to everyone besides the emergencies from PaP.  I sent Odner, our chief security, to the hospital Wed, Thur and Friday to see if they would be able to see Serlande.  The answer was no.  They could not handle all the injured ones from this area that had been brought back.  I was informed that the injured ones from Port au Prince had the hospital filled to overflowing and people were lying all over the grounds outside too waiting to be taken in to be seen to.  While in the waiting room with Serlande today I saw a lot of people, suffering badly from  injuries sustained during the quake and who had just been brought back from the disaster area.  So sad to see them that way, but I was thanking God for their lives.  Serlande was seen and sent home.  They wanted to do some tests but could not due to the people in line.  She is not at all well tonight.  Please pray for my precious daughter.

Good news:  During last night telephone service was restored.  I am now available again on my cellphone.  Anyone still wishing to speak with me can try reaching me at:  011-509-3-624-7401

This folks is reality as we are seeing it.  The country of Haiti is an absolute disaster at this time.  A lot of prayer is needed.  Too, a lot of financial help is needed to even make a dent in the problems.

One of HATS employees lost a brother in the quake.  Most of the employees had family and friends living inh PaP and have not yet been found. 

As I write this 10:15 p.m. I hear planes overhead, no doubt carrying supplies to help in PaP. Last night I lay in the mosquito tent with Ti Luc (Alex) and watched many aircraft pass to and from the airport.   The workteam, myself and Alex (Ti Luc) are still spending our nights out in the yard.  I am not comfortable at all about sleeping inside this place until repairs and changes are made.  Ti Luc and I will have to continue to sleep outside when the group leaves, as lonely as that will feel.

Despite the devastation in Haiti the team has kept on keeping on - doing the best they can.  Their emotions, too, are on rollercoasters but they have poured their strength into the work, and their love and care into the children.

Today for awhile it seemed like we had to throw everything they had into the two trucks(HATS and Luckner's)  and head to the airport for them to be evacuated to Canada on the Air Canada flight that came in with 100 doctors to help out.  We were rushing to do so but realized there was not enough time. They were originally scheduled to leave Tuesday afternoon.  At this point we do not know if there will be a flight by Air Canada on Tuesday.   Now the plan is to leave 5:00 a.m. on Monday, stop at the airport and unload all but Gerry.  We will get Gerry up to the Canadian Embassy to let them know the group are waiting at the airport to go to Canada.  Hopefully they will not have to wait more than the one night. 

Many of you have offered to send funds and some have asked about sending items.  Financial help is what is needed at this time.  Donations should be sent to the address in Yarmouth given at the bottom of this letter.  Please remember to make cheques payable to Hands Across The Sea Association.   Too, good news for those of you who have been wanting to donate with a credit or debit card.  You can now make a donation to Hands Across The Sea Association via Paypal.  To donate, please use the following address (copy and paste it into your browser), or click on the Donate button at our website  - 

Thank you again for all the help last year and now for the help for the people of Haiti due to this disaster.

    Thank you, once again, for EVERYTHING from all of us.                   
  
            

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