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Haiti quake injures four Compassion children

Haiti (MNN) — Damage assessments are underway following Saturday’s earthquake in northern Haiti. The latest report lists 17 dead, 333 injured, and 7,783 families in need of relief aid.

Gilbaud Saint-Cyr, director of Compassion International’s work in Haiti, says they’re reviewing losses and meeting needs.

Thankfully, no one from their organization was killed by the weekend quake, but “we have a lot of houses damaged; more than 500 houses of the children [were] damaged. Some church partners [have had] their facilities damaged or collapsed.”

Additionally, four sponsored children were injured and three children’s homes were completely destroyed.

“In spite of everything, we want to give thanks,” Saint-Cyr says.

“We want to give praise to God because it could be worse.”

Post-quake planning

Earthquake intensity map.
(Graphic credit USGS)

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck near Port-de-Paix, a city in northern Haiti, late on Saturday evening. A strong aftershock rattled buildings and nerves on Sunday, making for a restless weekend.

On its website, Compassion lists several Child Development Centers in or near the coastal city of Port-de-Paix. Although multiple staff members, pastors, and church partners were affected by the weekend quake, it didn’t stop them from reaching out to help their neighbors.

“So far we are providing food [and] water to the victims, and then we are thinking about providing shelter to the people who have no home,” describes Saint-Cyr.

“Then, we will have a meeting to determine what will be our short-term, mid-term and long-term responses.”

While taking care of immediate needs, local believers are also helping their neighbors understand spiritual truths.

“This is not…God’s hand against Haitians. No. This is a natural disaster.”

Compassion comes alongside the efforts of local churches to help Haitian kids become all that God created them to be. Visit Compassion’s website to learn more about their work in Haiti.

In times of disaster, that partnership includes emotional support.

rebuilding-haiti-young-boy_M

(Photo courtesy of Compassion International)

Even though natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes are the “norm” in tropical Haiti, they can still be frightening to experience. Compassion helps by providing disaster education and preparedness training, but as Saint-Cyr notes, “even [if] you have been trained in that, when the situation happens it is very tough [emotionally] to deal with.

“That’s why we keep working with churches to bring psychological help to the children, parents, and siblings so they could have less emotional [problems].”

How to help Haiti

As local church leaders and Compassion staff meet in the coming days to formulate disaster recovery plans, please surround them in prayer. Pray church leaders would be clothed in Christ’s compassion as they respond to the needs of their community.

“We can show the love of Christ [through] the way we are helping people who are suffering,” Saint-Cyr states.

You can also give to Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund to help the Christian community rebuild.

“We do need help, financial support from our dear friends who are brothers and sisters from the States because there are a lot of needs,” says Saint-Cyr.

Food and water are listed among short-term needs, while the rebuilding of houses, schools, and child development centers fall under mid- and long-term needs.

Header photo depicts damages from 2010 Haiti earthquake. Photo credit Smithsonian American Art Museum via Flickr.

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