Friday, January 15, 2010

On The Ground Report From Haiti

The following is from Ron Pierre, board President for Baptist Haiti Mission:

So many of you are inquiring regarding the situation in Haiti and particularly at the mission. I’ve just now been able to make telephone contact with one of our missionaries, Chris Lieb at Baptist Haiti Mission. Thankfully, the connection was clear and intact long enough for me to inquire as to the current situation. I honestly do not know where to start, the conditions in Haiti are desperate and deteriorating by the moment in spite of all that we hear relative to the aid that is “pouring in” from the US and other countries. I am simply going to list some of the things he was able to relate to me without regard to sequence. Those of you who have been there and/or are familiar with the compound in Fermathe will better understand the conditions, however, all of you will gain a sense of the severity of what our people face.

* Our hospital is filled with people 250-300 people lying in the halls, many, many with serious injuries that need immediate attention, more people outside and surrounding areas with a constant flow coming in.
* Our doctors are exhausted, most all of our staff are assigned to the hospital.
* Thousands of people sleeping in the park just below in Petion-Ville, afraid to return to their homes.
* At least 10 to 15 thousand people are sleeping in the park near the airport with roving gangs of hoodlums attempting to steal whatever “aid” arrives before it gets to the helpless people.
* People all along the roads with serious injuries, multiple fractures and puncture wounds; bleeding and unattended.
* Chris passed women grasping their dying children in their arms, after a while it becomes overwhelming because there is not a thing that you can do about it..
* Countless small children wandering about without any parents or adult oversight.
* The initial stunned calm that was over the population is rapidly turning to despair and in many cases anger. There is a real danger of things turning very ugly, potentially for those who are beginning to arrive to help.
* For most of the “search and rescue” people that have arrived or will arrive, it will be far, far too late to save lives. The stench of death everywhere and is overwhelming. Many places have seen no help whatsoever.
* There are piles of bodies in many roads and some have become “roadblocks” in and of themselves. [Haiti]
* Many people are simply in shock, most have lost at least one or more family members.
* Vehicles are abandon, roads are blocked or down to one tight lane as large chucks of the mountain have fallen.
* Chris gave out about 100 very large heavy duty tarps today to be used as temporary shelters and it got very ugly as the last ones were dispersed. The actual process of giving out aid is going to be quite dangerous the longer it takes to reach the people.
* There appears to be no oversight of the “teams” arriving. They are equipped but do not know where to go or how to get there. It may improve but it is going to continue to be a big problem.
* Medical supplies are running low at our hospital; I asked for a list of the supplies that they need we can be a bit more specific in our requests when aid does arrive.
* We have a need for anesthesiologists and orthopedic surgeons. Any medical personnel would be a blessing.
* Chris commented that he has seen things over the past several days that he hoped he would never see and would chose never to see again.
* Many people are simply walking around in what is really clinical shock.
* Everything is closed down; no stores, no markets, water is in tight supply and is running out fast.
* People walk up and down the mountain just looking for their families; there is no transportation.
* The Samaritans Purse people were supposed to arrive today with Greta Van Susteren of The plane circled for about an hour but could not land. They returned to Miami.
* The same was true for several other planes caring supplies and aid for the mission. We desperately need a pump and water filters that are coming in.
* All in all, there are no words to describe what is taking place, the TV news gives inadequate for those of you who know Haiti, the conditions, the culture, the people.
* Two of our churches in PAP have been completely destroyed, we do not have reports on the many churches in outlying rural areas yet.
* Most every school in PAP is destroyed, personnel killed. It will be a long, long time before there will be any schools in PAP.
* Our chaplains have been ministering to every single person who comes to the hospital; scripture is read and they pray with each and every one. We do have some very dedicated people.
* Our mission families are all accounted for and remain uninjured; we need to uphold them in prayer during these times. God certainly gives the strength and grace when needed. They recognize that the tasks before them are humanly impossible; They also recognize that prayer is the greatest asset they have in this trial.
* We are trying to keep the website current with pictures, video, and various other feeds . . . . go to It may be a bit slow due to traffic but it does function. [Haiti] Our thanks to all of you who have inquired, emailed, called, and written and otherwise displayed your love and concern, this has been equally overwhelming! It is now almost 2:00 am Friday morning EST and time ready ourselves for a new day. Again, I close with Psalm 20, verses 1 and 2: “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!” –R.A.Pierre


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