News from Methodist Missionaries/Workers in Haiti

News from Methodist Missionaries/Workers in Haiti


Disaster Recovery Ministries Team

10/8/2016

From: Dr. John and Sharon Harbottle, British Missionaries
To: Tom and Wendy Vencuss
Matthew Update
October 8
 

News of the damage from Hurricane Matthew has reached you all by now and the pictures in the media we are all seeing are still the only real information available at this stage.  There continues to be no communication with our brothers and sisters in Jeremie and Leon in the far west, but there is some with Cayes on the south coast where virtually all metal sheet roofs were blown off, and there was substantial flooding with damage to both buildings and crops.

John went to Petit Goave today with Stephanie Dalton, who is visiting from 'All We Can', to meet with the Health Committees and Clinic staff there and saw some of the effects of the edges of the hurricane.

Travelling down into Port au Prince and on to Carrefour showed that most of the flooding has subsided and that there has been a major clearing of debris and rubbish from the streets.  Some trees had been blown over, but there was little damage to property away from the areas where flowing water impacted on structures and vegetation in its path, and ditches and culverts were now being cleared using mechanical equipment.

On leaving Carrefour to travel further west there were soon signs of wind damage to trees and the effects of flooding water again with mud and debris on the road, and vegetation lying flattened.  The severity of the damage increased as the vehicle got further from Port au Prince.  Electricity poles were blown over or broken leading to loss of power to many communities, banana trees broken and flattened, breadfruit trees shredded with all their fruit lost, mango and avocado trees uprooted or broken, papaya trees left as bare trunks with no leaves or fruit, and ground crops flattened, washed away or left in total disarray by the wind.

On reaching the broken bridge just before Petit Goave vehicles were queueing to cross the river bed, which was totally silted up almost to road level, in single file through what was merely a small stream of water by then, no longer a raging torrent which had swept away the bridge.  In Petit Goave itself, away from the river, there was mainly wind damage with many trees uprooted or broken over the road, but now cleared into 6ft high piles of branches every 20 yards along the roads, and occasional tree trunks which had been cut and sufficient removed to allow the vehicles to pass.

The clinic has survived relatively unscathed and staff were seeing and treating patients, but many homes with metal sheet roofs nearby have been damaged.  News from outside the town is scarce as there is no power, so mobile phones cannot be recharged, but it is clear there is extensive damage in the rural areas to property and crops.  Details of this will be more apparent over the next few days.

To put all this in perspective please remember that Petit Goave was merely at the edge of the central zone of the hurricane, which spread over all of the country west of Petit Goave.  The pictures in the media we are now seeing are just beginning to show the effects in those areas.

Now that the road is open the District Headquarters of the Methodist Church are planning to go to Cayes, Jeremie and Leon, to offer support to the ministers and congregations there, and to assess what urgent help is required both immediately and over the next few weeks, before the longer term recovery plan can be developed.

The training course for stewards by the Christian Education Department, scheduled for next weekend in Jeremie, at which Sharon was to be one of the facilitators, has been postponed at least until December.  It is hoped that it will be possible to continue with the other training sessions for stewards, and the final training course and examinations for local preachers in November, of which 150 are in Jeremie and Leon.

Please continue to hold the people of Haiti in prayer at this time.
Yours in Christ,
Sharon and John Harbottle
 

From Brulan Jean Michel
Methodist Church of Haiti (EMH)?-VIM Coordinator, Guest House Manager
October 7

 
Thank you for your concerns and prayers with regard to the recovery efforts to help the people in Haiti.
 
Yesterday, I had a chance to fly to Petit-Goave by helicopter to assess the damage to the Ladigue bridge. I am happy to report tough the bridge has been washed away, strong vehicles and trucks can go through. I hope to drive to Les Cayes and the Jeremie area by the week end to continue with our assessment of the situation.
 
In Petit-Goave and around the city a lot of trees are down, streets were flooded and some houses have lost their roofs. Reports from the country side is that live stocks are decimated along with food plantations. Places like Olivier, Yvon, Sobier, Moliere, Hyacinthe and Carenage now need mostly materials to rebuild and repair homes, schools and churches.
 
I have talked to Pastor Ezaus and Jean Philippe, The situation in Furcy is also bad with rooftops gone in at least 18 houses.
  
More updates will come soon.
 
Thank you so much for your prayers and help.
 
Yours in Christ's service,
Brulan Jean-Michel
 
 
 
From: Brulan Jean-Michel
October 5

 
 Dear All,
 
 I want to thank each and everyone for their thoughts and prayers as hurricane Matthew passed over Haiti. It has been and still is a very difficult situation to deal with due to the fact that we have not completely recovered from the devastation caused by the earthquake of 2010. I sometimes find myself asking why Haiti again? Then I realize that this is geographical position God assigned to us so we have no choice.
 
We however want to let you know that the worst is now over. The red alert imposed by the government has been lifted. The rain has stopped and the wind is much less. At the Methodist Campus at Freres, we are doing ok. We have just had a few branches down. Much of Port-au prince is flooded but the water is receding by the hour.
 
Unfortunately, the situation in the southern peninsula is much worse. The eye of the hurricane went directly over Jeremie and the surrounding cities. The is significant flooding, landslides, trees down, roads destroyed and 95% of the houses have lost their roofs. So the damage is extensive, according to report from people who have flown over these areas. There is no phone communication and a major bridge in Petit-Goave has been washed away cutting the whole southern peninsula off from Port-au-Prince.
 
Thanks God, due to the vigilance of the authorities a lot of people have been sheltered. So far they are talking just about two lives lost. One life is too many to loose however, it could have been much, much worse.  
 
Please continue to pray for us as we now have to deal with the rebuilding again.
 
Thank you so much for your dedication to helping Haiti.
 
May God bless you abundantly.
 
Yours in Christ's service,
     
Brulan Jean-Michel
EMH-VIM / Guest House Manager