Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Go Navy!

Go United States of America!
Go Navy!
Go Capt. Fernandez "Frank" Ponds!
Go men and women of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)

Captain Ponds stated there are "boots on the ground" in Haiti.
I personally would like to thank the United States government, the United States Navy, Captian Ponds and all of the men and women on the ground.

This is Continuing Promise 2008!
We don't read about the good things very often so I'd just like to point out that men and women from the USS Kearsarge were on the ground in Port au Prince, Morase, Calase, Bainet, Trois Ponts, Grand Saline and Belle Anse and I am sure many others cities, towns and villages.

They were delivering the 1,130 metric tons of relief supplies, including 29,550 gallons of water to devastated communities isolated by damaged roads and bridges.

The areas needing the most immediate assistance have been in support of and prioritized by U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Medical teams from Kearsarge, including embarked personnel from Canada and the United States Public Health Service, continue to work with other agencies working in the country - including the Center for Disease Control, Doctors Without Borders, the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations and others - to provide limited medical services.

Air Force engineers and Navy Seabees continue to conduct assessments in some of the more heavily damaged areas where roads, bridges and critical infrastructures were destroyed by heavy rains and flooding from the storms.Kearsarge embarked personnel include service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, along with medical personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service, Canadian Army and Air Force, Brazil, Project Hope and International Aid.

Any U.S. military assistance to a foreign nation must be requested by the host nation through the U.S. ambassador. Then, as the lead federal agent, USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance fields the request and asks the Department of Defense for military assistance, if needed.

Why do I write about such things? Because the people of the world are good and I want to say thank you.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Lucia = Numbers

Licia, the wonder woman I've talked about before... you'll remember her, she's the person who makes me look at numbers different.

Psalm 40

1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.

Why are her feet so muddy? Was she just posing for the camera?

One hole in the ground. What do you believe is in that hole? What in the world could Lucia be thinking now?

Oh, I've got it. You are going to put that water in a bucket to wash your feet?
What's that in the bucket Lucia? One cactus?

You put a cactus in the water? To make it cleaner? You think that's going to work?

You are going to strain that yucky water through 2 towels?

NOW you have to give 60 children a bath with that water?

Now you filter the water so you can drink it? Just how much water are you filtering 1 gallon at a time?

330 gallons of clean drinking water a day? Lucia, why? Why are you filtering water?

Click here to find out why Lucia is filtering water.

Lucia = 1 woman

Lucia + YOU= 2

PS. One more number

P.O. Box 23

Real Hope For Haiti
P.O. Box 23
Elwood, IN 46036

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Broken Heart

Story from AFP
In storm-battered Haiti, humanitarian crisis as 500 are killed

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) — More than 500 people were found dead in Haiti as international aid trickled Saturday to desperate residents who have not eaten in days since the latest in a battery of storms crushed the country.
As the death toll jumped nearly five-fold in the wake of Tropical Storm Hanna, the poorest country in the Americas faced a likely new beating from Hurricane Ike, which strengthened to an "extremely dangerous" storm and threatened to dump heavy rains on Haiti's vulnerable northwest coast.
And more deaths could emerge.
"The toll is increasing hourly," warned the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "According to information from the government we have reached more than 500 deaths" following Hanna, which hit Haiti early in the week.
The UN Children's Fund warned that 650,000 people have been affected by the flooding, including 300,000 children, and that key bridges have been washed out or blocked leaving many of the country's roads impassable and complicating the task of humanitarian groups trying to deliver crucial aid.
Ground zero of the devastation was in Gonaives, a flood-prone northwestern coast city where about 3,000 people died four years ago when it was drowned by Tropical Storm Jeanne.
Senator Yuri Latortue, who represents Gonaives, said 200,000 people have not eaten in days.
Massive deforestation has left Haiti vulnerable to flooding and mudslides. After Hanna struck, many residents took refuge on the roofs of their homes before they were rescued by UN helicopters.
From the air, the rivers were muddy brown as they spilled over into entire villages. Only the roofs of homes could be seen.
Blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers on Saturday were evacuating several thousand residents from Gonaives, a civil protection official there told AFP.
"The problem is that there are not enough shelters to house all these people, thousands of whom need to be evacuated," the official, Youdeline Joseph, said.
Kone Amara, the Haiti humanitarian assistance coordinator for the aid organization Oxfam, said the situation in Gonaives, a city of 300,000 people, was "very grave."
"There's no food in the city and people live in shelters with precarious hygienic conditions," Amara said.
The aid group had planned to ship 2,000 bottles of water with the help of the World Food Program, but it could not get a boat until at least Monday, he said.
Oxfam might take aid by road, but it wants to be escorted by the UN peacekeeping mission due to security concerns.
"The people on the road feel abandoned and don't want all the aid to be focused on Gonaives," Amara said.
Parnell Denis, the contact for Oxfam in Gonaives, said the city was "completely devastated."
"The streets are lined with groups of people walking through the streets trying to find higher ground," Denis said.
"Food supplies and water are scarce and the price of the food that's left is rising. The morale of people staying in the shelters is so very low; I am afraid to tell them that another storm is on its way."
Hurricane Ike was forecast to pass north of Haiti, sparing it from a direct hit, but it strengthened Saturday to a Category Four storm and was expected to lash northern Haiti with heavy rains, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
"They will still get pretty strong winds and rain... as well as the Dominican Republic," NHC forecaster Cristina Carrasco told AFP.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Haiti's northern peninsula. Radio alerts urged residents to take precautions as the storm could strike on Sunday.
Ike, now an "extremely dangerous" hurricane energized with winds of 215 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, was bearing down on Turks and Caicos and the southern Bahamas Saturday and was forecast to rage across Cuba late Sunday or Monday before heading towards the United States, the NHC said.
Haiti was already hit in recent weeks by two other storms, Gustav and Fay, which left nearly 120 people dead.
OCHA said it would issue an appeal in the coming days for urgent financial aid to help 600,000 people over the next six months.
In Brussels, the European Commission has launched "fast-track" aid action for two million euros (2.9 million dollars) to provide relief for Haitians.
Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States are among the nations whose governments have committed relief aid for Haiti.
Michele Pierre-Louis, Haiti's new prime minister who was approved Friday to take office after four months of political standstill, now will have to manage a grim humanitarian crisis.

Friday, September 5, 2008


The following (with a few parts removed)is a news letter from my friend in Haiti.
September 2008

Dear Friends and Supporters of Clean Water for Haiti:

For the first time ever, I went out to our beach this morning and found it littered with tree-sized driftwood. Hurricane Hanna was supposed to be a tropical storm that lightly brushed Haiti's north coast but Monday afternoon it moved south, and it's been hitting the country with rain and wind for the past 36 hours. Here in Pierre Payen we've had 12 inches so far. We drove around the local area early this morning to see some of what happened and both the Montrouis and Pierre Payen rivers went well above flood levels. In Pierre Payen a number of people had the river flowing through their homes and one house I saw had all four walls washed away.

The Montrouis river Tuesday morning.

The Pierre Payen river Tuesday morning.

A local home under water.

Clean Water for Haiti is fine, except for a few broken branches. One of our workers had a boulder smash through the side of his house while he was sleeping, but I'll get to that later. The real tragedy of this storm is probably Gonaives. I say probably because there's no information in the media about Gonaives yet. Word of mouth is that the water went up to 12 levels of blocks, or about 8 feet. Some of you may remember reading about Hurricane Jeanne in September 2004 which flooded Gonaives last time around. Never before in living memory had so much water come into the city. There are three rivers that merge in Gonaives before flowing into the sea, and all three watersheds received torrential rains, combining to wash away over 2900 people and flood the homes of over 100,000 people. Just south of Gonaives there is a lowland depression several kilometers across which was mostly scrub brush and tall cactuses. After the flood, it remained submerged for over a year. Clean Water for Haiti brought in over 3000 filters to Gonaives in the months following the flood which were for the most part well received. Gonaives is a city with no sewer system and every well and every latrine were filled up with floodwater and mud. Thinking of that disaster repeating itself a mere 4 years later makes me feel queasy.

Saint Marc was also flooded but I have not yet seen the damage. There is very little traffic on the national highway today, and the road to Port au Prince has some very muddy places. I don't know if Saint Marc is passable, and Gonaives may only be accessible by large trucks. In 2004 we were able to get there in our Daihatsu truck but my feet were underwater as we drove through the deep parts.

Biosand filters are poorly suited to disaster relief. The best potable water effort after Hurricane Jeanne was up and running in days, by Oxfam if I remember correctly. They had big, diesel powered reverse osmosis filters that provided enough drinking water for the whole city, free. Biosand filters weigh 160 pounds and go in people's homes. They are a development tool, not a disaster relief one. However, it is so hard to know about people suffering without doing something to help. If I can figure out a way to effectively help people in the flood affected zone, we'll do it. If any of you are working in an affected area and are able to coordinate getting filters to those who have no access to drinking water, please contact me. We have about 200 filters ready to go at the moment.

Michel, one of our newer workers, dropped by here this morning and I overheard him saying "Roche tombe su kay la, tet chage. M'pa ka fe anyen, map degage." literally translated, that's "A rock fell on my house. My head is loaded. I can't do anything about it but I'll make do." I asked Michel if I could survey the damage, and we took a look. Well, a rock didn't fall on his house, it was a BOULDER. The house is quite modest - a mud and rock affair perched on a hillside. Michel was dozing on the home's one bed with his child and the boulder rolled down the hill and smashed through the wall of his house, throwing him and the child off the bed. It seems Michel is a master of understatement, something I have solid respect for. Michel also impressed me Tuesday morning by being the only one of Clean Water for Haiti's workers to show up for work - sharp at 6am. I told him we were taking a hurricane break!

Outside Michel’s house – the boulder that hit his house is behind this second one.
The surf became really high yesterday. Our old boat (which now belongs to a friend of ours but is still moored in the same place) became swamped and sank. No waves came over the wall, but they continue to come right up to it.

The old mission boat bobbing in the waves before it went under.

What the water in front of the mission looked like at 10:30 am on Tuesday.
I mentioned about the driftwood - it's remarkable to have driftwood here because any unwanted wood is immediately cut up and processed into charcoal. I suspect that all the driftwood will be claimed within the next few days. As I watched the swollen Montrouis river this morning, large branches and even whole trees went rushing past every few seconds.

Debris on the beach.

Please pray for Haiti as the storm rages on, even if you don't normally do that. There's another storm, Ike, on the way and it's predicted to reach category 2 before it brushes Haiti as opposed to Hanna's 1. I can't imagine it being worse, but praying is still a good idea. We're thankful that all of our own people and equipment are okay, and especially for our new roof, which doesn't leak a drop.

LATE EDIT: On Wednesday evening the Montrouis bridge started to sink. The Montrouis bridge is the only connection for a good part of the country between the north and the south. If the bridge goes out we are essentially cut off from the capital where most supplies come from. Hanna has affected all of Haiti, not just a specific area. Please keep everyone here in your prayers.

On behalf of everyone at Clean Water for Haiti,

Chris & Leslie Rolling
Executive Directors

Contact Us In Haiti:
Chris – info@cleanwaterforhaiti.org
Leslie – office@cleanwaterforhaiti.org
Phone: (intn’l code)+ 509-547-3210
Donations can be sent to:
In Canada:
Clean Water for Haiti
c/o Vernon Alliance Church
2601 43rd Ave.
Vernon, BC V1T 3L1

In the US:
Clean Water for Haiti
4606 NW Grant Place
Vancouver, WA 98663

Contact our Fundraising Directors:
In Canada:
John Carruthers – John.Carruthers@enbridge.com
In the US:
Barb Jonusaitis – barbj@cleanwaterforhaiti.org

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Water, water and none to drink

This is the second time I've written a blog about water, water and none to drink. Haiti is still flooded with people sitting on the rooftops waiting for help... which most likely not come. Please keep praying for Haiti.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Flooding in Haiti

*Gonaives, Haiti is under water.
*Floodwaters swamped a hospital in the Les Cayes area, forcing nurses to move patients to higher floors.
*MINUSTAH peacekeepers have distributed drinking water to about 10,000 people in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital, Port-au-Prince

Please pray help arrives soon.

Pictures from MiamiHerald.com