On Saturday, October 6, at about 8:11 PM a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck northwest Haiti, its epicenter about 11 miles outside the city of Port-de-Paix. It was followed by strong aftershocks that were felt as far away as Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. So far, seventeen people have died; 353 houses were destroyed; and 7430, damaged. However, with time these figures will probably rise.
In Gros Morne, where Srs. Jacqueline Picard, RJM and Patricia Dillon, RJM live together with lay volunteers, Brittany Galvin, Geri Lanham and Sofia Pascual, there has been alot of damage. Part of a school and an auditorium collapsed.
At Alma Mater Hospital (above), the engineer condemned the nurses' residence and the public health/administrative building. The pediatric unit and men's inpatient ward sustained significant damage.
At Kay Vizite guest house, home to many volunteer groups coming to offer time and talent in Gros Morne, the engineer condemned the building because of extensive damage. It will need to be razed and re-built.
In addition, many family homes were destroyed or sustained serious damage. And, many residents, afraid to sleep indoors, are now sleeping outside - on porches, sidewalks, streets.
Brittany Galvin offered a quick assessment of the situation in these words:
"Rebuilding will take a lot of time, and it's not expected the government or aid organizations will be able to give much help. Many of you have already reached out to ask how you can support the
community during this disaster, and as always we are in awe and grateful to have such a wide and generous network.
The most immediate needs are to help those who lost their homes and are too afraid to sleep indoors (a real threat, as aftershocks have already been felt and caused more damage to fragile homes). Long term, we'll need funds to pay for engineers and building supplies."
Know we are grateful for your prayers, your concern, your support for our Haitian brothers and sisters. We will continue to share news and photos with you as we receive them. Thank you! Mesi anpil!
- Sr. Margaret Perron, RJM (photos by Brittany Galvin)