Haiti Hurricane Relief Program
HAITI NEEDS OUR HELP!
By: Br. Rodel Tabanao, MOP, Mission Superior, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Hurricane Matthew, reported as the strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in a decade landed and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Haiti, a country on the road to recovery from the massive earthquake in 2010 was already seeing glimpses of hopes, then came hurricane. The road to recovery and prosperity will have to start over again.
While we give God thanks in sparing us and our two missions here in Haiti from this natural calamity we cannot help but think of the situations and sufferings of our brothers and sisters living in the southern part of the country and the family of our Brothers who were not spared from this catastrophe.
Few days after the hurricane, I received a call from Sr. Marie Diaz, a Filipino and finally professed member of the Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. Her community have been serving the poorest of Haiti for ten years in Viloux Camp Perin Maniche, an hour away from Les Cayes – one of the hardest hit areas.
AT DEATH’S DOORSTEP
She and the rest of the community were all awake the night the hurricane was passing. The combined forces of rains and winds were so strong that the thought of death lingers in their imagination. When the light of day came they were stricken to grief in seeing the walls that protected them from intruders for so many years were all down to earth. A portion of their roof was also damaged and the only water supply they have within the property broke down.
But what made them agonized all the more was the sight of the village whom they have ministered for so many years. The almost 200+ families whom they became acquainted with with their free clinic ministry, education, evangelization, and food-assistance program became homeless within the 12 hours of darkness.
The river that was once dry and barren is now filled with strong current of water, thus making the people living in the area unable to access the neighboring communities for possible supply of food and basic necessities.
True to their compassionate name, with barely 4 bags of rice and 2 bags of beans in the storage, the sisters have opened up their home and started preparing rice porridge for the people. This is now the six days after the passage of Hurricane Matthew on October 4. When and where will the next meal be is now a reality they have to face. To this day, access to their area remains limited……and they need food, water and other basic necessities.
All of these were communicated to me by Sr. Marie herself. She and the other sisters and the people living in the village had to climb up on a hill and walk for an hour or so to get the satellite signal. Only then they can communicate and relay to the outside world the stories that they now own and will forever keep in their memories.
Our plan is to help the sisters and the people they minister on the road to recovery. At the moment hundreds of humanitarian agencies are reaching out to the least of our brothers and sisters and are offering immediate assistance they could give such as food, medicine, water and clothing to the people in the affected areas. Eventually, when the excitement is over, one will leave after the other.
The sisters, however, will stay and will need continued support and encouragement. Please help us to help them and the people they minister. When it is now safe to travel – we are 6 to 8 hours away from the area, we will also do an ocular inspection of the family of our Haitian Brothers serving the poor in other countries and assess the best way we can help them.