Initial Good News. Much More to Do. | Hurricane Matthew, Update 2Rich Stigall
Here is a Haiti/ Hurricane Matthew update. Our immediate priority is to ensure that all children in our local church partners’ care are accounted for, safe, and secure. There will be significant rebuild needs, but that is not our focus right now.
As of last night, we had 411 children and their caregivers from five different partner locations impacted. They are: Darivager, Bigarrouse, Leogane, Cassamajor, and La Hatte.
We know that the children at Darivager and Bigarrouse are safe and secure at the El Shaddai Cambry location in Les Cayes.
Lucson, our GO Haiti field director, and several others on the GO Haiti team reached Leogane yesterday afternoon. While the site is a partial (and potentially complete) loss, the children are safe. They are our priority. Another fantastic organization on higher ground nearby provided shelter for them last night. We are picking-up the children today and relocating them (for now) with Pastor Claude at La Tramblay near our headquarters in Croix-des-Bouquets.
As of last night, we had 206 children and their caregivers unaccounted for at Cassamajor and La Hatte, which are near each other in a more rural setting. With communications to the south largely cut off, we could not reach them by phone. The only bridge from Port-au-Prince to the south washed out yesterday, so we could not reach them by vehicle. We had no knowledge about these children.
This morning, we received great news! The pastors at Cassamajor and La Hatte were able to climb uphill to places where they could establish communication by phone with Lucson. ALL of the children and their caregivers are safe and accounted for. However, even with the storm shelter we recently completed and the strong construction at these sites, these locations — particularly Cassamajor — got hammered by Matthew in ways never before experienced. These sites are completely cut off from access/exit by water, and that situation will not soon be remedied. Food and water supplies that remain available are limited – perhaps a week’s worth.
Let me stop and say this: Thank God that ALL children impacted are safe and accounted for at this very minute. Answered prayer.
Our next priorities are as follows:
- Stabilize Situation at Cassamajor and La Hatte
- Help Support Kids at Cambry
- Establish Mid-Term Plan to Keep Children Safe and Secure
- Assess Damage at the 5 Impacted Sites to Determine Go-Forward Plan
Mike, Jake, and I are flying to Haiti tomorrow, to work with a small team to address 1 – 4, above. We are working to secure a helicopter on Friday to address Priority 1, as air is the only access option.
We want to thank Lucson, Amy, and our entire GO Haiti team who are working with urgency to support our partners and the children in this extraordinary time. We want to thank El Shaddai and other organizations with whom we are working, as they work tirelessly in the zone of impact. And we want to thank you for your prayers and support.
We will keep you posted.
Yours in Christ,