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Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Status Update From a Friend

From: JDA4Him
Sent: Mon Jan 18 20:52:00 2010
Subject: Haïti Update 18 January 2010
Hello Everyone! - Here are some neat things we’ve been finding:

  • I’ve never seen the Haitian people more united than right now. Folks that still have a resource are freely sharing it with others. All my neighbors have folks staying with them; and both Odelin and Samuel are housing people in their courtyards—even though Samuel no longer has a house!
  • Food aid is arriving to the needy but still rather slowly as they continue to clear roads and establish a system to get to some rather remote spots. BUT local people are helping! A number are preparing food from their own homes to share with those who do not have—even though markets are just beginning to open and none of us has much cash to restock supplies (this is a cash-based economy and the banks remain closed).

  • It looks like the markets may still have some stock to replenish their shelves (though no bread or fresh meat), and they have not raised prices! Odelin and I found the local Deli-Mart open this afternoon, and I was able to buy a few things, including powdered milk. I imagine we all have some sort of comfort food, and mine is Chai African style. To find milk was a very, very special and specific blessing from the Lord for me today. All is right with the world if I can have a cup of tea in my hand!
  • Because many have sought to return to the provinces for medical care and security, the load has lightened considerably in PAP. There are still many hungry persons, but not 3 million worth!
  • Although there are some episodes of violent theft and looting, PAP has remained calm—possibly even calmer than it’s been in a while. Thieves are being treated severely by the people.
  • People are still being found in the rubble!
  • We’ve had some emergency supplies we’d purchased during the very bad hurricanes of 2008 that we could put to use. For me that’s meant two large tarps that covered the roof of the house when we’d a bad problem with leaking during the hurricanes. One is serving as a ‘roof’ and the other as the ‘floor’ of the shelter Odelin has built for the nearly 50 people staying with him at Pernier. We’d used the Bourse funds to also buy two tarps for Samuel at the same time we purchased these so he’d literally have a roof over his head. And he’s built an identical shelter out of them that is also housing about 50 people per night.
  • The aftershocks have definitely decreased, especially in magnitude.

Now some subjects of prayer:
  • Please, please continue to pray for the calm, that people here will be enveloped in God’s grace and peace and continue to show their natural desire to help anyone in need. This sense of solidarity has been dwindling among the youth; and perhaps this crisis time is one to teach them the value of such a precious cultural norm.
  • People are not seeking more appropriate shelter because they are afraid of theft if they leave their belongings in their crushed houses. Please pray that they may be able to SAFELY retrieve their valuables, find good storage, and then seek better lodging.
  • The town squares throughout PAP are the main encampments for the population without shelter. There are no hygiene facilities set up, so the stench and uncleanliness is awful, especially since water is still in limited supply.
  • Pray that people will find closure on their loved ones. Many have been buried without being first identified, and families are not sure whether they are still caught in the rubble and retrievable or they have died. So far about 70,000 have been buried; and the official (low) estimate is that 150,000 to 200,000 have died, roughly 5-7% of the total population of PAP.
  • Please do not think this is the fault of anyone! Every effort has and is being made to find and preserve life. I’ve heard stories of how families have spent long hours, sometimes over a day or two, to retrieve a loved one from the rubble—even risking their own lives to do it. The tenderness and care to see to family, another precious norm of Haïti, is truly awesome. Nevertheless, a crisis of this magnitude is sure to have a similar outcome. We no longer have Bubonic Plague to deal with in our cities; but in its time it had the same effect.
  • We all need to be able to access our finances (nope, no ATMs!) and then to find basic food and fuel. I have enough gas for 1 trip to the warehouse and I’m writing this by kerosene lamp so as to conserve the little electricity I have. We probably won’t have any national electricity for weeks yet, so fuel for the generator (and my car!) are essential needs to be able to circulate and communicate.

I was able to do a little research over the weekend on earthquake-resistant construction—and found some things that Haitian people already use! One is the idea of building ‘dry walls’, meaning stone walls without mortar. Just about all structures here are built from stone, block and cement, which are more risky in earthquake country than wood dwellings—they are too stiff and thus tend to break instead of bend. But a dry wall made of well-fitted stones IS flexible and works well. I showed a picture of a dry wall in Peru to Pasteur Roland this morning, who is himself a stone mason. He smiled and said that although he lost his house his outside wall—a ‘dry wall’--is still standing! The light went on. So cool.

That’s the latest. We are so warmed and grateful for your care and concern—and your prayers! They mean a great deal to the Haitian people.




  1. Carol, Hi this is Kathy Lakas sending prayers your way. I have a question. They need Nadias husbands full name. Father Larry is requesting this.
    Thank you

  2. Hi, please call us. On way to jimani. 4438139269


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