Most of us were not aware of the economic posture Haiti resides in, until one week ago. One still photograph of the current condition in Port au Prince is enough to comprehend the poverty pre-dating the new fiscal burden of the Haitians.
Julia Eberle, daughter of Charles and Bonnie Eberle from Powhattan County, Virginia was in Haiti last week when the tremors began. She and three others, Mike DeRiso, Maria DeRiso and James Talley were working at a higher elevation, remote from Port au Prince in the town of Quanaminthe in the Northeast corner of Haiti. The four were unharmed.
Charles, her father submitted the following information on Julia’s behalf while she had been traversing her way back into the United States;
‘The new issue for [those in Quanaminthe and surrounding hilltop villages] is missing their regular UN shipment of supplies upon which they depend. Since the ‘quake they are out of touch with their UN benefactors and supplies. So another irony for Haiti is that the 3 million people in the “boonies” outside the immediate proximity of Port-au-Prince will begin to suffer because all the attention and relief is and will be focused elsewhere, understandably so. We’ll probably never hear about the complete consequences of this disaster. Julia tells me that she and her friends have mostly learned about the maelstrom at the “Port” from the same TV reports we’ve seen and find it difficult to absorb.’
Julia and the rest of the team landed in Port au Prince from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, January 9. From the terminal, they were flown in a small plane over the mountains to Cap Haitien where they met up with other people, all there to do some work in Quanaminthe for a few days. Then, the team was to return to Port au Prince on January 14. Julia Laments,
‘There was so much we were going to do and see in PaP.’ She adds, ‘We were blessed’
As of 6:00p.m. January 19, The Haitian Government issued an extremely broad range at which it estimates the death toll in Haiti from 100,000 to as many as 200,000 fatalities. Also, during the same hour, the Haitian Government reported there to be 45,000 Americans in Haiti. The United States (State Department) has set the U.S. death toll at 28.
Finding anyone alive in the rubble of colapsed buildings, six days after the January 12, 7.0m tremor is a miracle, no doubt about it. That is what happened for Caritas rescuers, an organization many Richmond churches network with to provide healthcare, food, clothing and shelter to people who have become homeless.
Six and a half days after the destruction, rescue teams working with Caritas extracted Enu Zizi from the ruins of the Cathedral in Port au Prince. Enu’s first words to the rescuer who was communicating with her were, ‘I love you’. Enu said she had been talking to a man, trapped nearby for a few days. She did not see him or touch him and then, the man stopped speaking. She said she only spoke to God, her “Boss” after the man stopped speaking with her.
Your donations for relief are what will be needed for some time into the future, regardless of the hundreds of millions having already been donated. Immediate supplies are being taken care of from those donations. However, the infra-structure of Haiti must also be replaced and repaired. Though rebuilding will include donated support, supplies and labor, there will be a lingering economic burden financial contributions will be needed to satisfy.
Donations for the Haiti Relief Fund may be submitted to West End Assembly of God. Click on the link. Look for the Haiti Relief Fund banner and follow the prompts. Or submit your donations to a collection point of your choice. However, funds must continue to be generated for an (at this point) indeterminate time.
For the latest updates in Port au Prince, 24/7, click on ‘Relief Web’ .