Jan. 12, 2011 marks a year since an earthquake flattened homes and claimed lives, causing unimaginable devastation in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas. Please take time this month to pray alongside Haitians, who have found hope in their faith over the last year, despite tremendous obstacles.
More than 200,000 lives were lost in the earthquake. A young boy wears a bandage over his nose to abate the smell of death that permeated sections of Port-au-Prince in the days after the earthquake. Please pray for people still affected by the trauma of the disaster and for the family and friends of all who were killed.
Before the end of January, MCC had begun to send short-term teams of structural engineers to inspect buildings and determine which were safe. In all, some 660 buildings, including schools, medical clinics, churches, orphanages and some homes have been inspected by teams of MCC structural engineers, such as Johann Zimmermann (left), Peter Pereverzoff and Marcus Schiere (right). Today another MCC structural engineer, James Mwangi, is serving a one-year term to help train Haitian masons and contractors in safer building techniques. Please pray for the workers who are helping to rebuild the devastated capital.
MCC worker Alexis Erkert Depp, of Waxhaw, N.C., helps unload 1,000 buckets, which will be distributed with water filters. Clean water was a critical need in the days and weeks after the earthquake and remains so today, especially in the midst of a cholera outbreak. Please pray that people have access to clean water and are safe from waterborne illnesses, including cholera.
In the hours and weeks after the earthquake struck, MCC Haiti staff members noted how they saw neighbor reaching out to neighbor and even strangers. Using tarps provided by MCC, a local leader, Emmanuel Michel, and his son Ewiyde (right) helped people such as Baliui Jean (left) build simple shelters. Michel, a handyman and a single father whose own home collapsed during the earthquake, charged nothing for his labors, saying "everybody has a job to do and God will bless you for blessing others." Please give thanks to God for the courage of the Haitian people after the earthquake and in the months since.
As part of its Haiti earthquake response, MCC sent some 26,712 comforters to Haiti. Please pray for all the families that received these comforters. Myrka Petiote, from left, Angelique Dauriac and Jane Paul knot comforters in the MCC warehouse in Winnipeg, Man. For Petiote and Paul, who have family in Haiti, working on the comforters provided a way to deal with their grief. “Just knowing that we can do something here in Winnipeg to help people in Haiti makes me feel better,” said Paul who moved to Winnipeg from Haiti in 1997. “My entire family lives in Haiti. I talk to my grandma every Sunday. I want to keep on helping Haiti as much as possible – every little bit helps.”
In addition to all the deaths, scores of people were injured by the earthquake. Dr. Dolores Logan listens to Meghaelle Beauburn's breathing as his sisters Sandina and Jolinda wait their turns. Karen Ebey-Tessendorf, right, MCC Haiti alumnus, translates for Logan. This volunteer MCC medical team from Canada staffs a mobile clinic site in the town of Djeg outside of Port-au-Prince. The team is working through the Hospital of Hope. Please pray for those whose lives have been changed by the injuries they suffered as a result of the earthquake.
Volunteers Evening Louis, left, and Sainterne Beona, right, draw water from a cistern at an MCC-supported water distribution site in Cité Soleil, part of Port-au-Prince. MCC’s priority on emergency assistance such as this is gradually refocusing on giving people and families tools to better support themselves. Please pray that people will find new ways of supporting themselves and homes that will provide greater safety in case of another disaster.
Homes that will be built through the collaboration of MCC, MEDA and Fonkoze will be similar to this one repaired for Isaac, Viola, and Estania Auguste, left to right, of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. The Augustes were one of 10 families who received construction support from MCC through a congregation of Assemblée de la Grace, a conference of 24 Anabaptist churches. Please pray for all those who are longing for their own home and have not yet been able to rebuild.
In the mountains of Artibonite Valley, people displaced from Port-au-Prince and family members who have taken them into their homes construct stone retaining walls that will conserve soil and protect the water supply of Desarmes, the town below. MCC supports this cash-for-work program of Desarmes Development Organization. Workers make enough money to buy food and have a little cash for other needs. Part of MCC’s aim in rebuilding is to give people new opportunities to support themselves in rural areas, instead of being forced to go to the capital for work. Please pray for families who are striving to make new lives in rural areas such as this.
Grant Rissler, MCC East Coast resource development coordinator, left, and Marlene McKitrick, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, work with Steve xx, front, and Fredo Nulestant, background, both of Port-au-Prince, during an October work and learn team visit. Through the trip, participants from the U.S. learned firsthand about the situation Haitians are facing. In response, MCC Haiti hopes they will encourage friends, church members, neighbors and lawmakers in their country to advocate on Haiti’s behalf. Read more about these advocacy efforts, which reflect the priorities of MCC’s Haitian partners, at http://mccottawa.ca/haiti or http://washington.mcc.org/haiti. Please pray for MCC’s Haitian partners who, even amid the challenges of disaster recovery, are speaking out boldly for a recovery that seeks to offer better chances and hope to all people in Haitian society.
Structural engineer James Mwangi coordinates details for another project from his cell while Haitian builder Amos Brutus, right, takes a break during an inspection of a project site. Mwangi and a team of Haitian builders and engineers were inspecting sites that included repair and rebuilding for 200 people living with disabilities.