Life amid death

News is starting to trickle into the mainstream media from places beyond Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, those places to continue to struggle, with little to no aid reaching them yet.


Several bits of news from Léogâne have come up on Lauren Stanley+’s blog. Hilda Alcindor, director of FSIL (the nursing school in Léogâne), had this to say (read more at Lauren+’s blog):

Our students are doing a wonderful job.

FSIL is about the only healthcare facility in Leogane. We need all kind of medical supplies.

The students are delivered so far four babies: 3 boys one girl. All of them are healthy.

We lost three students ( 1 senior, 1 junior, 1 sophomore) The sophomore perished with her little girl. It is overwhelming but I am holding on.

The staff of the Children’s Nutrition Program, all of whom are now back in the US, also sent an update that confirms previous reports about the state of the Sainte Croix hospital compound. They are preparing to send a medical team to Léogâne to set up a field clinic within the week and are requesting donations to assist in that effort.

Dianne Pizey, who has led many of the St. John’s trips to Haiti, spoke with Yoleine Gateau, the owner of a guesthouse in Léogâne where St. John’s members stayed in June 2009 (a different one from the Ste. Croix hospital guesthouse). She reports as follows:

[Yoleine] had just returned to New York from Haiti a week before the earthquake. Today she was able to contact her friends and family at the guesthouse. They are all uninjured. The top floor of the guesthouse collapsed.

Her family tells her that helicopters have arrived in Léogâne with aid. They say that there are many orphaned children in the streets. Yoleine is hoping to get a delelgation together to travel there in February, to try to organize care for the orphans.

Confirmation that aid is reaching Léogâne is starting to come through on the news. A 40-person British search and rescue team has arrived there, as has a first shipment of UN food aid. The attention may have come because of video footage the BBC showed yesterday and another report filed today. According to that report,

The UN base at Leogane is full of vehicles, equipment, food, water and men [...] [b]ut instead of being out in the village, the UN representatives at this base are clustered around the front gate, laughing as they buy shampoo from a local salesman.

This in a town that the UN’s spokeswoman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elisabeth Byrs, is reporting is “the worst affected area, with 80 to 90 per cent of buildings damaged” (report via Australian Broadcasting Company—the other ABC).


News is also beginning to come in from Gressier. The aforelinked ABC article reports 40 to 50 percent of buildings there are destroyed. An account from Haiti Health ministries (not affiliated with the Episcopal Church as far as I know, but they do have a Minnesota connection) from Thursday describes much the same situation as in Léogâne. There, as at FSIL, babies are being delivered amongst all the trauma care being provided, and as in Léogâne, supplies are short.

Other news from Gressier comes from Michele Braithwaite, who commented here on Thursday about the House of Hope orphanage, which is supported by Good Shepherd in Burke, VA, as well as from Tryggvi Arnason of Holy Innocents in Atlanta, GA, who received the following from Precene Louis at St Mathieu in Gressier:

Dear Father, thank you for your message. we are at the residence are alive. we are living out side the gate. let me tell you that this morning I went to father Jean Berthold . I met him. he told me that he has so many people died from the church. And i see the church is destroyed. he told that everything is gone.

keep praying for us because we need help.


Although Minnesota Episcopalians don’t have direct connections to Jacmel, many of us from St. John’s who have been to Haiti have enjoyed an afternoon on the beach there. It’s reportedly hard-hit as well. KONPAY is attempting to get medical aid into Jacmel by boat and by plane. The Miami Herald has posted a video of the destruction there (warning, graphic). The Ciné Institute, a film school for Haitian youth in Jacmel, is regularly posting news, video, and photos, and Gwenn Mangine is blogging from the hospital there.

Episcopalians in the news

I’ll close this post with a roundup of mainstream media coverage of the Episcopal Church’s efforts in Haiti after the quake. Mallory Holding, one of the Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps missionaries assigned to Haiti, was interviewed by her local ABC station on Friday (via by Lauren Stanley).

A local TV station in Austin, TX, [interviewed John & Suzi Parker's daughter][3], the content of which is mostly drawn from the e-mail Suzi sent on Friday:

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