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Posted by on Aug 14, 2021 in Church ~ Communauté de Gloire, Community of Southern Haiti, Earthquake 2021, Haiti Ministry

Earthquake Causes Severe Damage in Southern Haiti

Many, many people, including Sam and his kids (shown above), are sleeping outdoors, despite the rain, out of fear of another quake.

  • Pastor Samuel and his 50+ kids are safe!
  • Glory Glory Center and Collège Lumière sustained only minor damage
  • Disaster Relief coordination continues; distribution begins in-country
  • Church in Rosier still stands; Pastor Daniel’s home destroyed
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Updated at 8:30 pm (PT), Monday, August 30, 2021

Though Afghanistan has dominated our news for the past 10 days, the situation in Haiti remains dire following the August 14th earthquake… we’re just not hearing much about it anymore.

Here are a couple of good news articles that I’ve gathered in the last couple of days:

In the second article mentioned, Katiana Anglade, development and operations director for the Lambi Fund of Haiti, which provides resources to Haitian community groups, had this to say:

It’s like we’re living this nightmare, reliving 2010, all over again, just in a different part of the country….  We all had concerns with the foreign aid that was coming in then. The money wasn’t disseminated in a way so people who actually needed it could get it. Do we know what happened to it? No one does… That’s why a lot of people now who want to help are making the necessary efforts to do the research and find grassroots organizations and Haitian-led organizations to donate to, where it will provide immediate relief to people who need it.

We are SO FORTUNATE to Pastor Samuel in-country! His proven track record of not only knowing how to construct buildings that have withstood both a category 4 hurricane and now a 7.2 earthquake, but also having a team that has proven they can effectively distribute aid during a crisis (as they did after the hurricane), has resulted in calls from folks across the USA who have heard Sam’s story and want to funnel their aid resources through him.

In the next day or two, I’ll post in greater detail about these relationships, but for now, just know they include significant aid contributions from:

  • Food for the Poor, Coconut Creek, FL
  • CIDM – Calvary International Discipleship Ministries, Jacmel, Haiti
  • Willow Creek Church, Chicago, IL

Please know that Dave and I (and so many others!) have been working every day since the earthquake to coordinate multiple aid efforts. However, due to safety and security concerns for Sam and those who work with him, we are not publishing all of the details. The situation in Haiti is very difficult. People are hungry, homeless, and desperate. There are daily attacks on aid convoys, with aid still not having reached many areas.

Updated at 1:45 pm (PT), Thursday, August 19, 2021

It’s been a few of days since we’ve posted an update, largely because we’re giving Sam time to deal with the situation he’s in, without our constant probing for information, as well as the fact that we’re still coordinating and putting plans in place.

If you’ve been watching the news, you’ll know that accessing the south is quite difficult at the moment, due to the damage done by the earthquake, followed by the mudslides that occurred, wiping out sections of the road, following Tropical Depression Grace’s trek across Haiti’s southern peninsula Monday & Tuesday (August 16 & 17). The US Coast Guard has had the most success getting in and out of the area, working diligently to evacuate the severely injured via helicopter to Port-au-Prince. Here are a few links to recent news stories:

On Tuesday, Pastor Samuel toured the area, driving to as many of the churches in his local network as he could reach. The good news is that the Church in Rosier is still standing; however, our dear friend Pastor Daniel’s home was completely destroyed. Thankfully, he and his family are safe. Most of the churches, however, in the network are severely damaged or destroyed and church members are camping out in the open air, filling soccer fields and other public spaces, much as they did after the 2010 earthquake. Tarps and tents are desperately needed!

Already, we have wired Disaster Relief Funds to Sam so he can begin immediately distributing them to church leaders and congregants who have lost everything. He has also offered the school as a distribution site for aid once it’s able to reach Torbek. We are currently working with Food for the Poor to get an entire container of supplies to the area and hope to have an update on this by the end of the week.

Food for the Poor is focusing their efforts on helping the people of Les Cayes, which is the largest city on the southern peninsula, just 7 miles from Collège Lumière. They have already sent seven (7) shipping containers full of supplies to the city, which arrived yesterday. They’ve also supplied a water-generating system that will filter 10k gallons of water per day, and they have procured a barge to deliver additional supplies to the city by water, eliminating the delays caused by damaged roads and highway bandits.

Rain from Tropical Depression Grace added to the Haitians’ misery as they continued to search for the injured and missing.

Updated at 5:42 pm (PT), Sunday, August 15, 2021

(L) Sam and the 50+ kids slept outside last night due to the number of aftershocks they’re experiencing. (R) One side of the perimeter wall at the Glory Glory Center collapsed in the quake.

We received a bunch of photos from Sam today showing the extent of the destruction in Les Cayes. A number of churches in Sam’s network have collapsed and many of the pastors have lost their homes. Due to the number of aftershocks, Sam and the kids slept outside at the Glory Glory Center last night. In the photo above, you can see the wall that collapsed at the Glory Glory Center between the yard and the neighbor’s house. We’ll have to get that fixed ASAP, as it’s a safety issue.

Dave’s been talking again to Food for the Poor, and they’ve said they can get supplies to Sam on our behalf, for distribution throughout the community. We just need to provide them with funds to purchase the supplies.

Updated at 8:04 pm (PT)

Our most recent message from Sam…

“Dave, I have seen a lot of people in the street, in the park, etc. because they lost the house with everything. If we can help them with tents, shelters, food, flashlights, soap, coversheets, shoes, toothpaste, mattresses, etc. … our ministry is ready to help distribute supplies!”

We don’t know yet how, exactly, we’re going to help in this regard. We’ve been in conversation throughout the day with others working in Haiti, including our missionary friends, the Birds, and our ministry partner, Food for the Poor about how to get relief supplies into the south. As we always have, we will respond to this crisis as a church, providing funds that Pastor Samuel and his team can deploy directly to those who need it the most.

Click here to give to Mariners’ Disaster Relief Fund and select Disaster Relief from the drop down menu.

Updated at 1:40 pm (PT)

We’ve finally heard from Sam himself. He sent us a couple of videos and some photos from the school site. The school seems to have escaped major structural damage, but the electrical room is a complete loss. This is the room that houses the solar batteries, inverters, and electrics, which caught fire. Thankfully, neighbors in the area rallied to create a bucket brigade to put the flames out… another testament to the Haitian people. In the face of what seems like never-ending tragedy, they consistently come together to help each weather the storm.

We still don’t know much about the damage at the Glory Glory Center. Since there’s no electricity in the area, Sam is charging his phone off his car battery, which means he has to ration his communications.

Bucket Brigade putting out fire in the electrical room at Collège Lumière

Neighbors form a bucket brigade to extinguish the flames that destroyed the electrical room at Collège Lumière.

Updated at 9:21 am (PT)

We haven’t been able to reach Sam yet, but we’ve heard that he and the kids are okay. This was relayed to us from Sam’s buddy Venel, who reached our local friend Kim Kelsey. We hear the Glory Glory Center has taken some damage; apparently one of the exterior walls has collapsed.

There is a fire at the school (Collège Lumière) caused by damage to the solar battery storage. We do not know if the fire is still going on, as the situation in the south is very chaotic at the moment. So far, no one with the means to communicate with us has been able to physically reach the south, so we have no first-hand reports.

At 8:30 am (ET; 5:30 am PT), Saturday, August 14, 2021

A massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, raising fears of destruction similar to the devastating 2010 quake that shattered the country.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 12 kilometers, or 7.5 miles, northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud and 10 kilometers deep, according to the USGS. It struck five miles from the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes in the western part of the country, the survey said.

The USGS put the earthquake in its “red alert” category.

“High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response,” the USGS said.

Two southern cities are known to have experienced significant damage: Les Cayes (on the southern coast) and Jérémie (on the northern coast) of Haiti’s southern peninsula. Our Haiti Ministry partner is located just 7 miles from Les Cayes in the village of Torbek. We are waiting for information as to our friends’ wellbeing and what, if any, damage has been sustained at the Glory Glory Center and/or Collège Lumière.

The following image was taken from an AP news article and edited to include a detail of the area in which Pastor Samuel does ministry.

Shake Map, Haiti Earthquake, August 14, 2021