While we await news regarding the extent of the damage and loss suffered by the Haitian people in the August 14th earthquake, we struggle with a question that comes from the depths of our hearts as well as our souls—"how much more can the Haitian people endure?” As a community of faith, who share a particular relationship through our partnership with Beyond Borders in Haiti, this question is profoundly personal, painful, and provocative. While we grieve with Haiti, we find ourselves holding this question about Haiti’s suffering alongside other painful realities that have been revealed this week: the severity of the climate crisis, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, and the resurgence of COVID, to name a few. Most of the questions we are living at this moment are not easily resolvable. While we cannot sweep them under the proverbial rug with words such as “it is in God’s hands,” this is a moment when, as faith-filled, justice-seeking-people, we must hold it all in our collective hearts and our prayers. It is here, in prayer we can find ways to be compassion, mercy, hope, and healing in the midst of it all. It is important that all of us take some time in the days and weeks ahead, to be conscious of Haiti, Beyond Borders, our partner there, and to pray with all who are suffering the violent shifts of the tectonic plates – real or metaphorical—that are causing so much catastrophe and suffering for so many throughout our world.
Update on Haiti from our partner Beyond Borders
Saturday’s earthquake was centered in the southwestern peninsula of Haiti, about 75 miles west of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince. Jeremie and Les Cayes, two major Haitian cities on the peninsula, have been severely impacted. Although the earthquake was felt in Port au Prince and Lagonav, it appears as though these areas have not been directly affected by it. Nevertheless, our partner writes, “What we are hearing so far is devastating: hundreds dead and likely thousands more injured, the operating room of the region's only orthopedic hospital severely damaged and unable to treat the wounded, an infant being baptized at the Catholic Cathedral of Jeremie was killed and the church now in ruins. Countless homes have been destroyed. “
The response to date:
Right now, our partner Beyond Borders is working with local, grassroots Haitian partners to gather information and assess the most urgent needs to be included in a rapid response effort. In addition to a rapid response, Beyond Borders, a founding member of the Haiti Response Coalition, which was formed after the 2010 earthquake, will be collaborating with the members of this coalition of Haiti-focused organizations to coordinate and support any response actions. There are many challenges to be surmounted in the aftermath of the earthquake. “One immediate concern is Tropical Storm Grace, which is currently on a projected path to go over Haiti on Monday. Another concern is the ongoing violence occurring in Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince, rendering major roads too dangerous to traverse due to gang activity and impeding access to the southern peninsula. If the violence continues, it will have a major impact on response efforts, particularly the movement of medical and other supplies to support victims and families displaced by the earthquake. In addition, the current catastrophe will very likely exacerbate Haiti’s already critical food insecurity crisis.”
Our partner, Beyond Borders, will continue to keep us updated on these response efforts. If any of your contacts want to support these efforts, please direct them to this website: https://beyondborders.net/donate/
These indeed are challenging days and times. Let us continue to keep each other, our province, our congregation and the needs of Haiti and the world in our prayers.