On October 4 Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, wreaking havoc and devastation with severe flooding, gale force winds and destroying homes, cities and lives. The death toll soared above 1,000. Plus, the residual death toll will climb even higher as sustained injuries and cholera take their toll on the population that is digging itself out of the ruins.
Jean Bilda Roberts, Bible League’s National Director in Haiti answers some questions that our supporters have asked:
How did you, your family and your staff weather the storm?
My family are all well and our kids continue to go to school. Praise the Lord, our staff too are well, but some of them have parents affected by the storm.
Have recovery efforts been able to assist people whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed?
Some NGOs are distributing food, but many people are not able to receive anything since the methods employed are very rudimentary. In the countryside people are literally crying out for help. In some places that I personally visited like: Latigo, Magon, Castillon, Biche, Seignette, Boiseau, FR Torbeck, no organisations at all are coming through to offer help. And people are dying from hunger and thirst and many times of depression. Until now, thousands of people are living under roofless houses. Some efforts have been done since, but it is like a grain of sand in the middle of an ocean.
What is the situation with drinking water, electricity and the availability of food?
In most places, drinking water is not available. Electricity runs only for personal, private domestic systems. The whole town lives in a general blackout. Food is available sporadically.
How bad is the threat of cholera and other water-borne diseases?
The threat grows after each rain. In rural localities, it is very dangerous, and other water-borne diseases have also appeared after Matthew. Many people need medical care.
What steps are churches taking to rebuild their destroyed buildings and ministries?
This is difficult to answer. People have been hard hit by Matthew, they cannot contribute for church rebuilding since their own houses also need to be rebuilt. People are praying for a miracle to rebuild the buildings of their churches right now.
Can you describe how the devastation will affect Bible League’s ministry
186 church leaders were accepted to attend the first module of Church Planter Training on October 24-28, 2016, but only 124 of them arrived, even this is encouraging, given the circumstances. It will be a lot more difficult for them to start the process of planting new churches or reinforcing existing churches. Many church partners lost their church buildings and resources, thus it will be difficult and time-consuming to get them back and functioning with rebuilt churches and re-stocking of resources.
Some Christian believers lost their Bibles and biblical resources, Bible League will try to provide them with new resources and Bibles so that they can continue to study the Word.
Is there any good news coming from the field?
Praise the Lord! For the month of October we already trained: 88 Facilitators for the Bible-based Literacy program, 124 new Church Planters and 250 Philips.
Donate TODAY towards rebuilding and re-resourcing the church in Haiti.
The ministry of Bible League New Zealand is able to plant God’s Word solely through the generous support of the Christian community.