A disastrous earthquake claimed more than 250,000 lives on January 12, 2010. Nearly 3 million people were affected with 1 million of those left completely homeless. The world grieved with Haiti 11 years ago, and today we solemnly remember the devastation the nation endured while giving thanks to our partners in Haiti who immediately responded to the crisis.
Our Founders Remember the Devastation
“Pere Bruno’s daughter Rachel called to tell us there had been an earthquake 38 miles SW of Port au Prince. Two hours later there was a dead silence across the country as all lines of communication collapsed. No one could know where their loved ones were. We spent our night waiting anxiously with the Haitians. We prayed, we held hands with them, we loved on them and they held tight to us. That night was truly about relationship and solidarity.”
“The city where I grew up does not exist any longer. Everywhere in Port-au-Prince, people live in the streets or they use any park or space they can find. They sleep under the stars. Their temporary shelters are made of sheets some of them have recovered from the ruins. Tears came down as I was walking between the bodies of the dead who were still laying on the pedestrian walk way waiting to be picking up by the truck to be buried in a common grave. As I was walking I visited a community of 300 families gathered together on a small property without water, food and so on… They were practically dying.”
On January 17th, Pere Bruno traveled to his childhood home of Port au Prince to assess the damage first-hand and to formulate a strategy for our relief efforts. He brought with him 10 volunteers and enough food to feed 250 families. He returned to Terrier Rouge, his truck filled with people looking to create new lives for themselves there. That trip laid the foundation for our disaster relief strategy. Time and again, trucks filled with food, water, charcoal, and flashlights traveled to Port au Prince and returned with refugees. More than 1,000 displaced Haitians moved to Terrier Rouge within months, and Espérance et Vie showed those who lost everything in the earthquake that they still had a chance in life. Clinique Espérance et Vie treated health problems related to the earthquake including PTSD, dehydration, broken bones, malaria, and typhoid. 30 new children were enrolled at St. Barthélémy. Jatrofa Projenou mobilized to provide temporary employment to 25 people. Doctors, nurses, teachers, therapists, students, and others from the United States and Canada quickly answered their call to serve with the NGO. Everyone worked together to care for those in need.
“I wish all of you could experience the resiliency of the Haitian people, who in spite of great catastrophes, persevere with determination and faith. By the grace of God and the compassion of the human heart, Haitians are moving forward with their lives despite their unbelievable loss. Haiti will be forever changed. The face of Terrier Rouge will be changed as will all of us who lived through this, [but] you can rest assured that Bethlehem Ministry has made, and continues to make, a difference in Haiti. Thanks be to God!"
-Berry Rice, March 2010