As you are aware, the unimaginable happened on January 12 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A 7.0 earthquake hit the capital shortly before 5 p.m. There have been more than 30 aftershocks. What little infrastructure that was there has been destroyed: many government buildings, hospitals, businesses, hotels, homes, schools and churches have been turned to dust. Roads have cracked, fallen away or are blocked with rubble from fallen buildings. CNN has reported that the human toll could be up to 100,000 people! We are deeply saddened and heavy hearted as we watch the news and see the scenes of places that we once knew, but are rubble today.
We wanted you to know that all of RMI’s missionaries & Haitian staff are fine. We have a team in-country (Main St. United Methodist, Abbeyville, SC) right now; they are at RMI’s Guesthouse at the mission center in Cayes and are fine as well. RMI’s ministries, missionaries and Sister Churches are in the southern peninsula, 120 miles from the capital, in the city of Les Cayes. They felt the earthquake and a number of aftershocks. It shook buildings and rocked parked vehicles, but there was very little damage, and only a few people were injured when they fell running out of buildings.
A big challenge that we face is getting the team out of Haiti and back home. Port-au-Prince’s airport is operational, but only relief aid is being allowed to take off and land. There is only one runway and no place to put planes. There is no aviation fuel. As I write this there are 10 planes circling Port waiting to land. The FAA has grounded all flights to Haiti because of the bottleneck, at least until tomorrow.
We are working hard, through as many avenues as possible, to make arrangements for the team to leave. In the meantime, they are safe and sound at the mission center. Today they joined another short term team that is also stranded at the mission center. They are both medical teams, so they ministered together, holding a medical clinic in a nearby community.
How can YOU help this desperate situation? As in any disaster, giving financially is the best way to help right now. We are partnering with MEBSH (the Haitian church association with whom we’ve partnered with for over 25 years) to determine how we can best help their churches that were devastated in Port-a-Prince. You can contribute online here (choose the “relief” category) or send a check to RMI at the address below. We anticipate sending a team in to help in the rebuilding efforts, but are not sure when that will be.
We’ve received many, many phone calls from all over the US, all wanting to know how they can help make a difference, as well as if the team, RMI’s missionaries and their Sister Churches are ok. We have appreciated the outpouring of concern, thoughts and prayers on behalf of the Haitian people and RMI.
Reciprocal Ministries International
5475 Lee St. Suite 301
Lehigh Acres, FL 33971