Earthquake Update 8/22/21

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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.

helicopter prepares to evacuate injured from Pik Macaya
Helicopter preparing to go to Pik Macaya to rescue injured people. Fed Dani, Etienne’s son interpreted for the group. He is on the right.

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.

Truck stopped at boulder on way to Jeremie
Etienne’s truck on the way to Jeremie

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.

Truckload of people evacuated from Pic Macaya
Truckload of people evacuated from Pic Macaya

* Pik Macaya (from 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.

Earthquake Update 8/17/2021

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Excerpts from Reciprocal Ministries International’s Facebook Page:

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!

Earthquake Update, Day 3

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Message from Jim Shaw to our Haiti Supporters:

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.  

Les Anglais Catholic church after its steeple collapsed and killed 20 people
Etienne Francois carrying an injured man

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.

Warm Regards,
Jim Shaw

Earthquake August 14, 2021

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Message from Jim Shaw:

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.

Blessings and thanks for your prayers.

Update on the Current Situation in Haiti – July 2021

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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.

Photos from Key Programs

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.


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