Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti Earthquake News Cap-Haitien, Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Sen Rafayel

Hello Eveyone,

News is still coming in sporadically from Haiti, some devastating, some hopeful. With no cell phone service, e-mail has been a lifeline. To upddate our previous news, here's what we know so far:

Port-au-Prince Bad News, Sad News 2 students
Frandzy and Peterson, in Port-au-Prince, until this afternoon were both still unaccounted for. Auguste just emailed to tell me that he heard from Peterson last night, who said that he is injured but alive.

However, Frandzy (Carmene our cook's oldest boy) was killed. Both were studying medical technology. Plenitude is okay.

Our sympathies go out to Carmene. Auguste reports the family is desolee. Another of her sons, Ernst, died of an ear infection about 4 years ago. Ernst was also one of our kids, who we sent to the school for the deaf (Lekol des enfants sourds).  Carmene has 2 daughters as well, both in elementary school.

Leogane School Nursing -- 4 Students

Our nursing students (see earlier post) are shaken but alive. They described the town of Leogane where the nursing school is located as 'kraze' (crushed). The school gave them permission to travel home. I am not sure how this will happen as nothing is moving up and down the Route Nasyonal.

It sounds as though the students were able to get their belongings out of the dormitory. We'll know more soon, hopefully. Obviously my concern is for these 4 kids travelling the 200+ kms (124+ miles) on their own.

BUT CNN just ran a story from the nursing school in Leogane. The students have been operating a clinic as the hospital and 90% of the town demolished.

I saw one of our students, Alland, in the clip looking every inch a competent nurse!!!!

Doctors without Borders have just arrived. The students attended to an estimated 5000 people. The mayor estimates the town has already buried about 5000 although numbers are unreliable as many are burying their family dead privately.

Thanks to Mme Jane in Georgia for responding to my query with news of our nursing students.

Sen Rafayel -- 50 students
The students in Sen Rafayel are okay, but supplies in the village are becoming scarce as transit up and down the mountain is interrupted.

Cap-Haitien Students
All schools are closed in Cap-Haitien, and the banks and government offices are also closed. With the banks closed, it is difficult to make repairs (more detail  about damage below) as we need to pay tradespeople on the spot and we do not keep a large sum of money on site.

Gas Kerosene Scarce
As shipments are not getting into the Cap-Haitien, supplies of gas and kerosene are becoming very scarce. Those with money (moyen ekonomik) are beginning to stock up.

This hoarding mentality means that the poor, who can only purchase a very small quantity at a time, will be left with no light source. As dirty and unsafe as kerosene is, it provides illumination in a very dark time.

Damage at Lakay -- No Water, No Hydro
Our house sustained more damage than initially noticed. The new water reservoir on the roof which we installed about 18 months ago has cracked. The staff did not realize this until they went to draw water and it was empty. Let's hope it only needs repairs and not replacement.

The wiring for our generator (which draws water from the well up to the roof reservoir) was also damaged and needs to be replaced. Jack sustained a shock from anba te-a (underground) so the owner's representative in Cap-Haitien was contacted.

This rep said in no uncertain terms that this was not his problem. We will handle this as we have in the past. Jack and Auguste will do what they can until I arrive.

There is absolutely no electricity! We have dealt with this before. The longest period I remember without electricity is 6 months in 2004.

House Habitable
The staff thinks that the house is structurally sound despite the appearance of new cracks. I have confidence that this is so as Jack has a great  deal of experience as a builder. He has checked everything and declared it habitable.

Students Housing Estimates,Repairs
Students continue to come in to Starthrower's center asking for help repairing damage to their living quarters (ti kay-yo).

Auguste is making a list and giving the kids appointments to come back so they can direct staff to their house. We have to do it in this manner as there are no street names or addresses. Small living spaces are very difficult to find even after having visited once before.

We can then estimate what materials are needed to make repairs and how long the work will take. With both gas, taxis, and building materials in short supply and high demand, repairs could take a while.

We need a taxi to get to the houses to make estimates, we need money to pay for the taxi and the taxi needs gas, which is in limited supply. Once we have made estimates, we'll need to purchase building supplies. All banks and businesses are closed, so the staff  literally have their hands tied.

Travel to Haiti
I will fly from Toronto to Ft Lauderdale on January 30, and purchase some supplies, then fly over to Cap-Haitien on January 31, provided the airport is open by then.

Courage Kouraj
Haitians have been through devastating times in the past. Too many, perhaps. But their 'kouraj' will bring them through this.

If food is available for purchase, we will also restart our meal program at the centre until the schools re-open. It may just be a brief time until the kids can get back to high school. However long it takes, we'll get through it together, one house at a time, one student at a time.

And again, Thank You
Thanks so much to those who have emailed and phoned with words of support an encouragement.

Thanks also to those who have donated for our rebuilding needs.

Thank you to those who let others know of our plight, and thank you to colleagues who share information.

As we learn more of the needs and conditons in Haiti, and the extra funds now needed following the earthquake, we need our Starthrowers more than ever.

Thank you, Everyone! Once I get to Haiti and can assess what's needed in  Cap-Haitien, Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Sen Rafayel, I'll let you know.

I'll also let you know when and what I hear from the nursing students making their way back home.

Kenbe pa lage



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