Earthquake Update 8/22/21

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.