Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake update

I've received a lot of messages on facebook and email about the situation here and how people can help, so here's an update for all of you. Thank you so much for your concern and prayers.

The earthquake hit about 20 minutes after we drove into our driveway (we had arrived in port that same day and went grocery shopping before heading home). I was walking in the road on my way to the clinic when the earthquake began. Ryan was outside in our driveway, and Eleanor was outside in the hands of Connie Nichols. We all struggled to keep our balance during the quake, which seemed to last forever. When the tremors subsided, I saw that the first floor of the apartments of Jim, Sandy and Jen (the apartment complex where I used to live) had collapsed. I ran to the clinic to see if they were there, then ran back when we realized they were inside. As I came back, I saw Jim and Sandy in the road, covered with dust. They had escaped through a new hole in the side of their house. Jen was safe also. Ryan came running up, and we walked back to find Nora together. At this point we had no idea of the magnitude of what was happening. We heard that there was a person at the guesthouse who was injured. I had some supplies in my bag from donations that Sherry Donovan had given me stateside, so I pulled those out and began working on the patient. I foolishly thought that she might be the only one injured. Soon after we began working on her, a steady stream of people began flowing into the yard. Some were injured and others were just homeless and scared. We separated the groups and began working on the injured. A group of people went back to the clinic and braved the gases and dust and cracks in the wall to get a truckload of supplies and bring them to our triage area near the guesthouse. Others set up lights, because darkness was fast falling. As we looked through the crowd and began treating wounds, the extent of the injuries astounded us. As soon as we thought we saw the worst case, another patient even more injured would come along. Many had severed and mangled limbs, many had serious head wounds, one woman was paralyzed from the waist down, the majority of the people who came had at least one broken limb. One woman was in labor and delivered in the driveway. Two other women came the next day and delivered their babies without complications. Several people were dead on arrival, and many more were so severely injured that we were confident they would die within a few days. Jim and I felt helpless at times in the face of such grave injuries and such limited supplies. We worked until about 5 am, and then tried to sleep for about half an hour. Then the injured came again, en masse.
We set up shop at the church, which was still standing, although it had some concerning cracks in its outer walls. Sandy and Nannie triaged the masses of people who came to the church for help, choosing about 40 of them. The rest were left to find help elsewhere, if possible. Jim and I, with the help of the team, sutured people and splinted fractures. Jim performed some amputations. Jen delivered a baby in a pew. A woman died of blood loss as she was lying in front of the altar. Almost everyone had a story of a loved one that was lost. Evelyn and Connie watched Nora for me so I could work. Ryan was busy attending to our house, which suffered flood damage. Throughout the day, small tremors kept our nerves on end, and as we were finishing up our last few patients, a large tremor rocked the building and sent us all running out the door. The building stood, but we finished up our last patients in the yard.
Today was a day of regrouping for the missionaries. We are basically out of medical supplies, so opening up a clinic today was useless. We focused on contacting loved ones, taking pictures, getting possessions out of destroyed houses. The eye clinic is not able to be opened because of stuctural unsoundness, so we don't know the extent of the damage there. The medical clinic is not too stable as it is. Our house is livable. None of us are sleeping inside at this point. There are too many tremors still. We have our mattresses in the open air, and Nora is comfortable in her pack n play with her mosquito net.
We learned of the death of our housekeeper, Daphne, this morning. She was only in her early 20s. We haven't heard from any of our other haitian friends in Port or Seguin. The Jacmel boys are safe.
God is good. We have heard of many people who want to come help, and at this point we are strongly urging no one to come. We don't have access to enough food or fuel to support more people here. If you would like to help, please send donations to Commuity Christian Church, 10001 W. Commercial Blvd, Tamarac, FL 33351 and designate it for "Earthquake".
Thank you for your prayers. Please pray for no rain at night, since everyone in this part of the country is sleeping outside. Pray for order to replace chaos, and calm to come to our hearts and the hearts of the haitians.


Matt and Molly said...

Thanks for sharing Teresa. I am so saddened to hear about Daphne. She was a wonderful young lady & I really enjoyed her this summer. We are praying for you all and even though we would love to be there to help you we understand that your supplies are limited. Let us know when you all need us. We will rebuild so Christianville can continue to be a blessing to the Haitians. Love you guys & stay safe.

Pye's In Haiti said...

T I am so glad to hear you guys are OK. I wish so badly I could bring food over to you guys! 40 miles never seemed so far! We are good, struggling but better than you guys! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all! How is your house? Will you be able to fix it? Is the front road to the mission open? The bridge still there? I can't wait until the road is fixed!

k said...

Hey T, thanks for the update. I'm so glad you, Ryan, and Nora are all safe, but I am very sorry to hear about the loss of Daphne and so many others. I wish there was more we could help with from the states. Let me know if there is anything I can do, but until then you and Haiti are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you, Krista

Tracy said...

Praise God for keeping you and your family safe. I am an IU Optometry Graduate who was involved with FCO...knew Shelley and I've read about you and Ryan on updates. I visited Haiti in 1993 on a Mission Trip with Water For Life as a Sophomore in College. The people of Haiti are RESILIENT...and HOPEFUL. They are amazing...and even among the dead, dying, sick and disasters...God will continue to give them the strength, faith and hope to continue on. I continue to pray for them and for all the incredible Missionaries who are brave (like you all)....who are living out the message of Christ in a foreign country....sacrificing the luxuries of America to serve another human because of Christ...and even in the worst natural disaster to hit you are still steady and serving....I want to say: God is WITH YOU. Your courage is amazing.

SpauldingFive said...

So thankful to hear you and your family are safe and that you are able to be some help to the Haitians. We will continue to pray for your safety and that the needed supplies make it to you.
Jason & Tracy

KJAM said...

Hello Teresa,

This is Kevin Jamison. We met in Seguin about 10 years back when I was on a trip there with Levern. I was recently in Seguin in October and re-visited the site where the church school and clinic are. I now work with global development and have started a new organization called the Global Village Development Program. We plan on Seguin being our first location in bringing large scale projects to create change in health, agriculture, education, jobs, infrastructure and energy. I wanted to speak with you in regards to the clinic there and pick your brain on some questions we have. my email is