The Haiti Ap Grandi directors and Etienne agree that the immediate priorities for funding and action are 1) clean water, 2) food, and 3) shelter. Etienne proposed buying twenty 800-gallon water tanks to place in communities currently without a source of clean water. The cost to purchase and deliver each tank is approximately $1000. This will allow water trucks to deliver water in bulk and for the community to efficiently distribute water to residents. We also plan to repair the damaged wells in Les Anglais and the surrounding area as quickly as this can be arranged.
To get clean water to the people as quickly as possible, an anonymous couple has pledged up to $10,000 to match all earthquake relief donations to Haiti Ap Grandi from August 14 through September 30, 2021. If you wish to help and have your contribution matched, click the Donate button on this page and select “Earthquake Relief”. Note that our name change from “Compassion for Haiti” to “Haiti Ap Grandi” hasn’t happened at Paypal yet, but donations made there are being delivered to us with no interruptions.
Etienne and his brother Nobert have been meeting with government representatives in Port au Price, Les Cayes, and Jeremie to persuade them to distribute water, food, and supplies for shelter. Etienne is struggling to feed and house the overflow crowd staying at his home after their houses became uninhabitable. He is still rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals, while setting up for his team’s next actions. He asks for our prayers.
The Lake Oswego Review newspaper published an article on August 31 about the earthquake aftermath and relief efforts based on an interview with Jim Shaw, one of our Directors. It describes how Haiti Ap Grandi, two churches in the Lake Oswego area, Reciprocal Ministries International, and Etienne’s Passion for Haiti organization are working together to address the critical needs of the earthquake victims. Here’s the link to the article. Subscribers can read the article for free. Others can create an account to view content. I clicked the $5 month option, but after giving my email address creating a password, I was allowed to read this one article for free.
This information was relayed to Jim by Etienne in a phone call on Aug 24.
Etienne is traveling all over helping wherever he is needed. Working yesterday with an organization that has a helicopter, they rescued 23 injured people from a mountain village on Pik Macaya*, the second-highest mountain in Haiti. 18 other people from the village perished from injuries and lack of food and water. Between the earthquake, torrential rains, and aftershocks, there have been many landslides and they continue to occur.
Today Etienne is in Les Anglais where 25 people were killed, 20 in the collapse of the Catholic church’s steeple. The Baptist church is in pretty good shape, with some cracking, especially in the pastors’ residence. The pastor and his wife have been sleeping in one of the school buildings (rebuilt after Hurricane Matthew and presumed to be stronger than the older building they usually live in) because of the aftershocks.
In Bwa Picon, a very remote village on a steep slope where Etienne and his agents and students have done prior work installing new roofs after the hurricane, most of the crops were lost in the rain and landslides. Many of the homes still stand, but the people lack food.
15 people died in Chardonnieres, bringing the total deaths counted so far in the seven communities at the center of our work to about 40 or 50. Les Anglais is the largest of them, but has very few structures higher than one story. That is why fewer people were killed by collapsing buildings in this area than in cities like Les Cayes.
Earlier, Etienne went to the northern coast of Haiti’s southwest arm to help evacuate people from Pestel to Jeremie. The roads were wiped out by a landslide so people making the trek had to walk single-file over treacherous terrain. The photo in our August 17th post, with Etienne carrying a man with a broken leg, was taken on this journey.
The well in Boco and the recently-rebuilt Lagoon well that serves the community on the SW edge of Les Anglais are both gone.
The Haiti Ap Grandi Board of Directors is prioritizing safe water and food for immediate relief funding as soon as possible. We are immensely grateful to all who have donated to Haiti Ap Grandi for this first wave of assistance and for the massive relief and recovery needs that we will support. We recently sent funds to cover the salaries of Etienne’s agronomy agents for the rest of this year. They are helping with relief efforts now and will play a big role in helping farmers to get new crops into the ground and reestablish their livestock herds. The mask-collection project that began prior to the earthquake is nearly finished. 1300 masks have already been sent and 640 more will be on their way this week to try to decrease the spread of Covid among people crowded together as a result of the earthquake.
* Pik Macaya (from Wikipedia.org): Pic Macaya National Park (French: Parc National Pic Macaya) is one of two national parks of the Republic of Haiti. It is located in the country’s southern peninsula, within the Massif de la Hotte. Featuring the country’s last stand of virgin cloud forest, it encompasses more than 8,000 hectares. Elevations in the rugged park reach a maximum height of 2,347 meters (7,700 feet) above sea level at Pic Macaya (Macaya Peak), the second highest point in Haiti behind Pic la Selle. A majority of the park is composed of two tall peaks: Pic Macaya and Pic Formon.
The destruction is widespread on the entire southern peninsula. No community was spared clear out to the farthest tip of the island. There are many landslides across the road that leads into the mountains to go to the other coast as well as the main road that leads west to that area of Haiti. Bridges are damaged and many are impassable. In Cayes and Jeremie most, if not all, stores and businesses have been heavily damaged or destroyed. In general, the infrastructure that southern Haiti had is badly damaged and severely crippled.
Benjamin observed that “It was the grace of God that it happened at the right time…people were up and out of their houses, schools were not in session and churches were not meeting”. And it is true, had it happened at another time or day, schools and churches would have been full and the death toll would have been drastically higher. In the midst of the indescribable destruction, something to be thankful for.
There have been regular, strong aftershocks. As you can imagine, the people are traumatized and nerves are frayed. They are afraid to go inside concrete structures. They are sleeping in their yards or out in open areas. Tropical storm Grace is right over the entire peninsula now, creating more heartache. Where are they to go in the rain? Mudslides will be a very real possibility, especially in areas where the earth is already softened by the earthquake. Getting supplies from Port-au-prince has been severely impeded by gangs that control areas of the town and road that leads south. NGOs and government officials have negotiated a one-week truce with them to let supplies, containers, and personnel through. Pray as a convoy of containers and other vehicles will be going through that area in the coming days. RMI has 3 containers of food that will be a part of that convoy. It is needed now more than ever!
We are grieved to tell you that the Saturday August 14th earthquake in Haiti killed 20 children and adults during a baptism at the Les Anglais Catholic church when the steeple fell down on them. The town of Les Anglais is in mourning.
None of the buildings at the Baptist church and school fell or were seriously damaged. Some developed cracks but are still functional.
Reciprocal Ministries International had no serious damage to any of their buildings in Les Cayes although many homes in the area around their headquarters were destroyed. They are working on a plan for assistance. More news to come later.
Etienne Francois is driving about the country helping people who are injured get to hospitals. He needs medical supplies, tarps, tents, food, water. There is a hurricane coming and the roads will be impossible. People are fleeing toward the cities where they find hospitals full and no help available. If you want to help please click the Donate button to the right, or go to How to Help.
Please be in prayer for our friends in RMI, Passion for Haiti, and the people of Les Anglais.
Sadly, Haiti has experienced another major quake even larger than the 2010 earthquake. This one was centered much closer to Les Cayes, where RMI and Etienne’s Passion For Haiti organization are based.
Etienne’s facilities and RMI’s compound suffered little damage, but Les Cayes has suffered greatly. Not much news yet other than that.
Etienne messaged me that he is well and the Sister Church in Les Anglais is still standing. PTL for that. However, the Les Anglais Catholic Church collapsed during services this morning and killed and injured many people. News still breaking there.
I will let you know more as we get info.
Pray for our Sister Church and Etienne and his staff and RMI and their staff.
Also, we received a message from Rod and Debbie Wray that their compound near Les Cayes was heavily damaged and all buildings are destroyed or damaged and even the ground has opened fissures around the compound. Please pray for them.
The news here in the US is full of reporting about the assassination of the President of Haiti and the resulting turmoil in politics and on the streets of Port-au-Prince. The assassination itself has very little direct impact on the lives of those in the Sud (South) Department of Haiti, which includes Les Cayes and Les Anglais and everything in between. However, many people are leaving Port-au-Prince for the far provinces to escape potential violence. As happened after the 2010 earthquake, people already living in the Sud area may find themselves hosting or otherwise providing support to those coming from the capital city. There may also be additional difficulties in obtaining goods that they need and in transporting and selling crops and other products outside their local area. There are many unknowns. Hopefully the good of the country will prevail in decisions made by those in power.
Our friends in Les Anglais are very happy that the recent hurricane mostly missed them. Their biggest worry now is not the assassination but COVID, which is spreading fast in the country. We are starting to put together a mask drive so we can send 500 face masks to Les Anglais. More information will be provided here when we have a plan.
Etienne and his family are well. He and his team are moving forward with planting boatloads thousands of coffee and cocoa and shade trees in and around the Sud Department. He has five salaried agents and hundreds of college interns working for him this summer to help farm families produce more crops and livestock, earn more money, eat more nourishing food, and reforest the land. He gets up every day determined to make the world a better place.
This slide show of short photo stories illustrates current activities in a few of our main initiatives: Goats, Coffee & Cocoa, Hurricane Matthew Recovery (new roofing in Colse village), and Clean Water. The Bonus “People” section includes a beautiful photo of three generations in Etienne’s family and pictures of team members and Haitian friends during the 2020 Haiti trip.
Use the Back/Forward arrow buttons in the lower left corner of the viewer to step through the slides. Use your browser’s Refresh button to go back to Slide 1; it is usually a circular arrow in the address bar.
Unfortunately the slide viewer isn’t visible on the Home page. To see it, either tap on the “Photos from Key Programs” title above or use this link: “Photos from Key Programs”.
At our first-ever virtual meeting of the Haiti Club, Etienne called in through WhatsApp to update us on his activities and plans. It was wonderful to see and hear him. This post is a summary of the news he shared. (Tap here to read his Speaker’s Notes.)
With the money that Haiti Ap Grandi (thanks to our generous donors) sent for well repair, 8 wells have been fixed and the communities now have safe drinking water. The well near the beach village not only had a worn-out and broken head, but repeated floods washing past it carried tons of soil away, leaving the concrete pad and well inaccessible. Loads of rock and gravel were used to build up the area around this well and a larger concrete pad was built around and under the existing pad, so the well should be fine for a long time.