Monday, January 18, 2010

Day Seven

Although the seventy-two hour window that rescuers say is key to finding people alive following a disaster has long passed, Steve Hersey, director of Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, writes that people are still being brought out of the rubble alive in their Delmas neighborhood. Last night sixty people were rescued from a collapsed building. His wife, my sister, Ruth Hersey, speaking in a church yesterdat in Wilmore, Kentucky, advised the rescuers not to give up looking. Haitians are strong people, she said, "They don't know Haitians. They'd better keep looking, because Haitians can last longer than anyone."

Steve posted on his Facebook early this morning, "As I start out this day, I'm thankful that the school fuel tanks were filled just before the earthquake; that all QCS teachers are accounted for; that QCS has solid internet service -- and much more."

The school campus continues to host a number of relief efforts, including a US Army logistics team that has set up shop in a classroom. The Army is also helping to support and maintain generators and other equipment at nearby Hôpital Espoir.

Missionary and QCS teacher Els Vervloet reports on Facebook, "At one gate a DR medical team came asking to put them to work, at the same time at the other gate a truck arrived from Dan O'Neil with medical supplies and more, while at the front gate a truckload of wounded Haitians showed up begging for medical help. It's easy to do the job when God is in charge."

Supplies arriving through the Port-au-Prince airport and also coming in through the Dominican Republic are coming into the campus from where they are distributed.

The issue of fuel is becoming significant as smaller organizations and missions are unable to get diesel for their generators, their only source of electric power. Missionary Troy Livesay tweets that at one gas station prices as high as $14 US a gallon were being charged for gasoline.

Meanwhile, Quisqueya personnel continue to try to track down information on those students who have as yet not been heard from. Some of the elementary school students have already been reported to have died in the quake.

One student, Jessica Ackerman, is blogging about her own personal experiences following the earthquake, which shattered the final semester of her senior year in high school. She writes, "You might watch the news and think it looks bad, but I am living it. I am affected far less than many, and I am still living it. I am living it and it is hell."

She reports that besides being a temporary home to several teachers and Haitian staff, the campus has become a meeting place for students who gather to share their heartache.

Many of the Quisqueya students, who commonly speak at least English and Kreyol, are serving as interpreters for the international aid teams. Katie reports that several of them are interpreting at Hôpital Espoir.

With communication capabilities severely damaged, a group of QCS alumni have set up satellite communications equipment on campus and are using this to contact various groups and missions, in order to cooperate and coordinate relief efforts. Quisqueya personnel are also working with families that need to evacuate, helping to facilitate getting children out of the country and to safety.

God has made the QCS community a hub of hopefulness and healing in the Delmas neighborhood.

1 comment:

Rachel Elwood said...

Thanks for posting this, Andy! It's good to hear what other brothers and sisters are doing. So glad your sister and her family are in God's hands.