Tuesday evening, January 26, 2010
Port-au-Prince Report #5
Reported by John Hay, Jr., ICCM [Intn'l Child Care Ministires --a Free Methodist Ministry] Director of Advancement:
Free Methodist Haitian Earthquake Response Team #2 concluded its mission on Monday and returned to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday to brief Team #3. Team #3 makes the seven-hour drive to Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, January 27, with more relief supplies, a well-drilling team, logistics experts and International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) leaders.
The Tuesday evening briefing between the two teams yielded a sobering assessment of conditions in Port-au-Prince. "What you see on TV is not true; it is much worse," one team member said. Another reflected: "It is so overwhelming, you cannot put words to it." The team described people living in tent villages on every available open space, calling out for water and food, and afraid to go inside buildings and homes that are still standing.
They also described heroic efforts of rescue and people sharing with each other the food and water they are able to access. An informal economy is beginning to supply essential needs even as the formal economy of the city struggles to come back online. "The people of Port-au-Prince are still in shock," one team member declared.
Structural engineer Ken LaBelle inspected ten ICCM schools, along with churches and homes, with the assistance of Haitian ICCM and church leaders. Many schools and FM church facilities will need to be rebuilt in the months and years ahead. The task ahead is immense, but the faith of many in the Haitian Free Methodist Church is strong.
Response Team #2 was also able to restore electricity to the ICCM office so it can serve as a center for helping schools across the country resume classes as soon as feasible.
Team #3 will begin its service on Wednesday, January 27. The team includes well-drillers Curt King and Kevin Kate. They will attempt to find water that will be a life-giving resource for many. Two team members will focus on logistics for relief and recovery teams going to Haiti over the next several months. ICCM Director Linda Adams and I will work with the Haitian ICCM staff, visiting schools, finding ICCM-sponsored children, and distributing supplies.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible