In the aftermath of the August 14th earthquake and following that Tropical Storm Grace we at LOTM were in frequent contact with Peniel, Lhermon, and other partner mission agencies that we collaborate with. We were grateful for God's protection and provision for Peniel and the rest of the Radio Lumiere staff at the various stations around Les Cayes and Jeremie.
One of the key differences this year compared to 2010 after the January earthquake and 2016 when Hurricane Michael struck is the improved communications technology for us. It has been easier to keep in daily touch with Peniel and Lhermon with relatively reliable internet connections. That was not the case in 2010. While electricity is about as inconsistent as usual, internet connectivity and charged cell phones have been very helpful for us to keep in touch.
In some of our conversations with Peniel he mentioned how it seemed like he was reliving 2010 all over again as he took in the damage. It is truly heartbreaking what our sisters and brothers in Haiti have endured over the years. While there are challenges the world over and plenty of human tragedies, violence, hate and disruption, it is truly breathtaking to consider what has been experienced by the Haitians over the years.
As soon as we learned of the news of the earthquake, we were in touch with Peniel and Lhermon. We were glad to hear that they were okay. Unfortunately that was not the case regarding a key employee at the studio in Les Cayes. He lost his life when the church he was in during a service collapsed.
Peniel put together a plan of action to procure water, mattresses, tarps, tents, basic foodstuffs, and some medicine. He and others with Radio Lumiere loaded up two trucks and started shuttling supplies to the southwest into the earthquake zone. Once there they were in contact with church pastors to decide how best to deliver the materials that they had. They also stopped at the hospital and made some meals for the patients and staff.
Since the earthquake, there have been daily aftershocks. There are many people who lost their houses. Those that didn't---they're afraid to go back in for fear of collapse with the next aftershock. That is why tarps and tents are so important. So many had to endure the downpours from Tropical Storm Gloria in the first days after the earthquake. People also have to deal with the exposure from the sun also. Tents, tarps; any kind of materials that can be fashioned into a shelter are needed.
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