Update Haiti & Hannah (Morning)Rich Stigall
Wednesday Update 9:3:2008 (Morning)
Status: We – C3 and El Shaddai – have 1,115 children in our care in Haiti. 56 are in Port au Prince. 250 are in homes in the children’s village in Gonaive I told you about yesterday. 100 are staying with pastors and church families in Gonaive, waiting for us to complete their homes, which were under construction. The rest of the children are in the south, with Cayes as the nerve center for our work in the south. The children’s villages in the south are: Cayes, Cambry, St. Louis, Casa Major, Bighouse, Darivage, Arniquet, and Port Salut.
In addition to the above, we have another 100 children selected and in line for homes in Gonaive. So, really, the number waiting for homes in Gonaive are the 100 first in line discussed above, and this additional 100 second in line. The second 100 are also staying with pastors and church families. In this update, I will refer to these children as the “200 in waiting.”
I understand the PAP children are fine.
Hannah crushed and cut-off Gonaive from any meaningful communication and help. As of yesterday afternoon, we understand that the 250 in the Gonaive village were still okay – the water had not reached the second floor. We also understand that the 200 in waiting in Gonaive were okay. We’ve heard nothing since then, as communication lines are down. Our expectation is that our children there are safe. The reports we’re getting from people on the ground through Dony is that when the U.N. and others get access to Gonaive, they will find a situation on par with what happened with Hurricane Jeanne in 2004.
Yesterday morning I reported that all homes and children were secure in the south. Unfortunately, the situation has worsened in the south. Cayes is experiencing massive flooding. Louis – who like all Haitians has experienced many a hurricane – says that this is the most widespread flooding he has seen there in his life. What we do know this morning is that the children in Cambry and Cayes are dry and safe. Louis and crew can get to the children in Cayes. Their home is flooded, but they were moved to the second floor of the church and are waiting out the storms there. Louis knows the children in Cambry are fine, but cannot get to them and cannot assess damage there. He can’t get there because water has flooded the bridge to the road to get to Cambry.
We don’t know this morning the status of the homes and children in the other villages in the south: St. Louis, Casa Major, Bighouse, Darivage, Arniquet, Port Salut. Communications and access are nil. The flooding is severe. We entrust their protection, as always, to the Lord.
There was a brief respite from the downpour this morning. The expectation is that the storm will turn back north and the dump will begin anew, although, hopefully, not as severe as yesterday. We’re praying for a break in the action and that the waters will recede enough for Louis and his team to get to the children this afternoon. That’s what we’re shooting for and praying for – confirmation that ALL of the children in the south are fine, even if their homes are not.
As you know, El Shaddai has an incredibly impressive, trustworthy, committed network of leaders and churches. El Shaddai has more than 200 pastoral leaders it has trained, and 39 churches with roughly 16,000 church members saturating the south and Gonaive. Dony and Louis are organizing and mobilizing the El Shaddai network to move into relief and assessment mode for our children and beyond. I will tell you that NGOs can send in wonderful, big-hearted masses with good intentions to help, but they cannot network and deliver reliable relief and compassion like the El Shaddai crew.
Weather and conditions permitting, Dony plans to fly to Haiti tomorrow to help Louis orchestrate this effort on the ground. We, C3’s leadership, will be assisting in this effort – trying to respond to their needs as they realize them – and are in regular contact with Dony in this regard.
Janie Hodgdon, a passionate C3er, connected C3 to Heart to Heart International a few months back. Since then, C3 has developed a working relationship with HH. This may prove to be miraculous timing. C3 has asked HH to mobilize with C3 and HH to provide emergency relief to our children, their caretakers, and to the many displaced villagers suffering in the very areas where our children are located. I believe this could be done via air. El Shaddai’s network would be an amazingly practical and efficient network to deliver this relief. Please pray that this C3/HH connection will be made and mobilized ASAP. Janie, many thanks for your leadership and initiative.
In closing for now, let me say that our priority is making sure the children are safe and have ample food and clean water. I believe that these children are and will remain safe. Beyond that, we already know that the infrastructure damage will be profound. And we know that with many, many thousands of already fragile family units wrecked by the hurricanes, thousands of more children are going to be left to fend for themselves. The demand for what we do will dramatically increase in a flash.
We don’t feel beaten at all. We absolutely plan to respond in kind. We plan to GROW this work.
Please keep this up. Pray that what the immense suffering and uncertainty these children must feel – which feels so unreal to us as we go about our days – will sink into and break our hearts. If you pray nothing else, pray that.
2. C3 Haiti Relief Fund – LAUNCHING LATER TODAY
The most practical way you can help is to give. We know that the homes we had under construction for the 200 in waiting in Gonaive, for more children in Arniquet, for more children in Darivage, are going to be wiped out. Multiple additional homes under water will not withstand this. We have schools that will go down. We have a $100,000 medical clinic in Gonaive – construction finished and set to open in the next few months – that is trashed. We’ll have 1,115 children that will need additional emergency care, and we expect we’ll bring in another 1,000 in the coming months in the wake of this tragedy. All will need to be housed, fed, medicated, cared for by mommas.
In short, I expect that to get back to Par and start to meet additional needs of orphaned and abandoned children in these areas will cost well over $1,000,000. The more we can collect for the orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti who will – more than about anyone – feel the brunt of this damage; the more we will do. Period.
TODAY we are launching the C3 Haiti Relief Fund. This will be a dedicated C3 account whereby every red cent of money given to this account will go towards what we need to do in Haiti to rebuild and get more of these children in care, immediately.
We will be sending to you this afternoon details of this Program.
3. Send This On – If you forwarded yesterday’s update to others – to your database of friends – or if you can do so, please forward these updates, too. We need to mobilize an army to respond to this. Praying is great. But we need resources, too, to immediately address the need.
We need to get this word out, without worrying about whether someone will view an “ask” as a nuisance. There’s no place now for sheepishness or any shame in pushing the envelope for these kids.
4. Please Allow Us to Update You So many of you have your hearts deeply tied to these children, and to the C3 cause. Many of you have called or e-mailed us to talk about what’s going on and the latest updates we have. I certainly understand. But, with all respect and humility, please hold off on these calls and e-mails today, knowing that we will send out periodic updates. This will help us stay on task.
We appreciate you, and you will hear from us later today.
Executive Director, C3 Missions