I am sitting in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale trying to process all that I have witnessed over the past 48 hours. Honestly, I have visited many third-world countries in both Central & South America and Africa. I have seen children suffering from malnourishment in Ecuador, unemployed workers rioting in the streets in Venezuela, shantytowns in Ethiopia and I've even held AIDS orphans in Kenya. But nothing could have prepared me for what I just saw in Port Au Prince, Haiti.
On Tuesday, January 12th at 4:53pm a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked this already impoverished city killing almost 300,000 people.
People who experienced the earthquake thought they were witnessing the apocalypse.
Schools full of children tumbled to the ground.
Fathers stood outside buildings screaming for their sons and daughters trapped inside.
Today people stand beneath teetering buildings selling goods on the streets just to try to piece together a living.
There are approximately 1.6 million people living in tents. During the day temperatures reach over 115 degrees. During the night it rains. Most of the camps have no electricity, running water, or sewage disposal, and the tents are beginning to fall apart. There is trash and debris everywhere you look.
The presidential palace was destroyed along with many other government buildings. 20,000 government officials were killed. There was little infrastructure in this country before the earthquake and there is NO infrastructure in this country today. No sewer system, no clean water, no trash collection or television, even the electricity is intermittent.
This mother is forced to bathe her injured son in the street.
Life goes on amidst the rubble. People are rebuilding their country with five gallon buckets and shovels. Street vendors sell tools, hygiene items, toys, water, and banana chips everywhere you look.
This country continues to stand on the brink of disaster. Every relief agency you can imagine is here and millions of dollars in aid continues to pour in, but none of this is making any visible difference. 80% of Haitians are unemployed; crime in the tent camps is widespread - especially against women and girls; there are approximately 380,000 orphans in the country; 98% of the rubble remains uncleared; thousands of bodies remain in the rubble.
Between 23 major charities, $1.1 billion has been collected for Haiti for relief efforts. Only two percent of the money has been released by the Haitian government!
Meanwhile, Pastor Ga's church has doubled in attendance since the earthquake. He also runs an elementary school and is working on establishing a Bible college to train the next generation. He is working with Builders International to rebuild 30 Haitian churches and schools.
If there is hope for Haiti, it is the local church!