Update 06 – October 23rd

Plea for help from the villagers of Lougou, Marc, and Raymond

Dear COFHED partners and supporters,

We are pleased to report to you that we have been in communication with the leaders of Lougou, Marc, and Raymond villages.  In fact, we have already met with them in two separate meetings here in the town of Camp-Perrin.  The living conditions in each of those communities, and of course in many other surrounding villages, are just dire to say the least.  We have dispatched COFHED staff in those places and the pictures taken just show total devastation everywhere.

According to the village leaders, what’s needed most urgently is some tin sheets, tarps, 2X4’s and nails so that families can build shelters to shield them from the elements of nature, especially rain. The month of October is normally a rainy month in Haiti, and people without homes have been having a very tough time. Food also is equally important as a need, but shelter takes priority at least for now.

To be more specific, the community leaders in each of the villages reported the following:

Total homes destroyed: 907

Total families affected: 1074

Total population affected: 4859

 

Each household with a destroyed home needs a shelter that can be built quickly for a total of $540.00 USD.

 

20 tin sheets @$5.00 each $100.00
2 large tarps @$50.00 each $100.00
20  2×4’s @$12.50 each $250.00
10 pounds of nails @$1.00 each $10.00
Transportation $80.00
Total $540.00

 

We and our village sisters and brothers would appreciate any help that can be given to relieve the suffering.  May God’s blessings come your way too as you purpose in your heart to bless stricken Haitians in this time of need.

 

Lovingly and gratefully in Christ,

 

Nick and Madeleine Avignon

 

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Update 05 – October 20th

Update from Thursday, October 20, 2016

update05

Community Relief

The COFHED staff are working to connect with international aid and relief agencies to determine whether or not they can get aid to our partner communities. Madeleine made some contact to receive aid for the communities through a connection in Port-au-Prince. Ginette is in Raymond today to help assess the needs of the community. We are trying to get accurate estimates for the numbers of people affected and determine who has the greatest need. We did get news of 50 boxes of food ready to be delivered in Marc through a connection from Port-au-Prince.

According to community members, the distribution of aid is very politicized, so people who need aid the most are not the ones to receive it. Receiving aid seems to be about who you know. People who voted for certain politicians are getting food while others are not. Aid distribution is a mess.

Right now people are subsisting on root vegies, beans or grains that survived the storm. Communities’ leaders estimate that in 2-3 weeks, people will have run out of these items and will be truly hungry.  COFHED would like to purchase a large quantity of seedlings for the communities, to enable them to plant new crops during planting season. But this is a longer term project.

People tend to tell stories and remain positive in the midst of the struggle. One woman laughingly told a story of a group of fifteen people who took refuge during the storm in a cave used to bury people.

We’ve told community leaders that COFHED does not have the means to provide relief to large numbers of people. We will use what money comes in to provide relief in areas that are not receiving it, but their best hope will be through organizations with much deeper pockets.  We are planning to have a planning meeting tomorrow with community leaders from Lougou, Marc and surrounding villages, and Raymond.

COFHED UPDATE

The COFHED staff came to work yesterday to go through files and do some clean up and organizing.  We lost our office chairs and some of our desks.  Gradually we are trying to get into workable work station. Work on the new COFHED property is very slow.  The masons, and other workers are here to work on our new place today.  We are in the process of moving some items and cleaning as well.

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Update 04 – October 13th

The past couple days have been ok. Yesterday we went to town for supplies and food. It was a long day. We spent the day with Ginette and Menes, three leaders from Lougou and one from Marc.
In (our partner community of) Marc and surrounding villages…
We finally were able to get in touch with someone from Marc. Things are really bad all over the place. People are still waiting for help and for news for some assistance. Modler (leader from Marc) is going everywhere trying to find some support but the Marc community hasn’t been reached. Modler from Marc made a video in Creole. I will try to send it to you. There are over 600 people in the Marc school. There was one baby that was born and died in the school. The school rooms are full and people are sitting on the outside open porch. The majority of houses in Marc are flattened or the roof or walls are gone. There are two major churches – one is totally down, and the Catholic Church has the roof gone. So the school is the only place where people can stay. There are many more residents of Marc and its surrounding villages than Lougou. We are going to try and make it to Marc this weekend. The young people from Marc are still working to clear a path, but still it’s hard for a motorcycle to go through. There are things they were unable to clear.
In (our partner community of) Lougou…
…a baby was born in the Lougou School on the night of the hurricane. The baby survived, but I don’t know yet if it was a boy or girl. Last night in Lougou people tried to go to back to their makeshift houses, but it rained so people ran back to the school. We are trying to assess with the leaders of Lougou what is needed right away. It’s going to take a lot of money because the needs are so great. To give people tin and a tarp for temporary shelter is alone going to take so much. There are seven houses in Lougou that were built with COFHED’s help. Four of these houses are undamaged after the hurricane, and three have sustained roof damage. They had lots of people inside of them. One housed 14 families!
New COFHED Property
Last night the guy that will repair the window came to assess the damage and give us a new quote for the repairs. The main mason and the electrician were both here, so I think we’ve contacted everyone that is needed to get the new house ready to move in. Our house staff went to clear up the place – wash and clean the dirt and the windows trying to get the place ready. We need to purchase a new water pump and need new containers for water. We need to finish the outside kitchen. There’s quite a bit to do.
Relief efforts
Saturday we are going to have a staff meeting just to re-convene. We’re going to meet at the new office to think strategically about how to best help the communities. Ginette and Menes have been at work, but Franciel, Marie-Josie, and Wandy we haven’t seen yet. Ginette and Menes have been checking communities, drying papers, drying receipts, meeting with leaders with us. Ginette is right there – very supportive. Menes walked around Lougou today and the minute people saw him they said “OMG, COFHED is here! So there is hope. We know we’re going to find some help. COFHED is going to help us”.
This isn’t like one-time little food relief. The needs are so great and we know we don’t have the basket for that. Ginette and I were sitting there feeling so overwhelmed, knowing that whatever intervention we make won’t even make a dent. It’s been 10-12 days after the hurricane and nobody has received aid. So it’s just sad. We send the word out, but we’re not the government, our friends and the COFHED board are working really hard to get the word out there. We can just do as much as we can.
Thanks for your advocacy. You guys are our strength – you’re going through it with us, it means a lot. You’re doing your part and we’re doing our part – we’re all in this together. Thank you. Love and hugs to all.
 
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Update 03 – October 12th

“Good morning. Yesterday was the most intense day ever. I felt that I needed to let you know what’s going on. Today is a new day. The sun is out. Menes is going to Lougou to do an assessment. We are trying to get some food in town. The guys are going to start to create a passage (through the fallen trees and rubble) to the new place to do an assessment there. We’re trying to remove our stuff from the rental place for the rest of the week, things like the generator, batteries, inverter, and things that Carmelle had put in the back for us. The rest of the week will be an assessment week for us. There are so many questions and so many stories. The news of the hurricane was not well known because people had been without electricity for a long time and hadn’t listened to the radio and were caught by surprise. They didn’t know how bad it was going to be, which created more devastation.
I have to bounce back from yesterday and move on. There is no time to process anything. We just have to go on and do whatever is needed each day- just go on. The internet is intermittent. I can’t call everyone because I’m trying to save energy. Once I leave Les Cayes, my phone can’t get charged. I’ll send a message when I can.
Thanks for your prayers and support. Love you all”.

 

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Update 07 – November 2nd

Makeshift House

COFHED Hurricane Matthew Relief Update November 2, 2016

Your continued support of our recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew are meeting direct needs caused by the devastation of the storm. Thank you for walking the long road of recovery with us.

Community Update

The most pressing needs for the families in Lougou, Raymond and Marc are tin and tarp for their houses. People try to do whatever they can for shelter, but conditions are deplorable. The photos of this makeshift home gives you a sense of their reality.

We have received 399 food kits through the help and other connections of Tyler, the BTP engineer who helped build the bridge in Lougou. Every family in Lougou and most families in Raymond received a food kit and some aqua tabs. Fifty-four food bags and some aqua tabs went to Marc. Distribution went smoothly. There has been sporadic uncoordinated assistance in the area, but many families are still in need. Insecurity is also an issue with reported looting of food convoys.

Le Petite Academie School has started in Lougou. Some students come in the morning and some come in the afternoon. Red tarps are used to cover part of the school, but it’s really hot and crowded. All of the school’s books and papers were destroyed in the storm. Le Jardin des Rossignol’s school in Raymond is not ready yet. They are hoping to start this coming Thursday. We are working with the leaders of both Raymond and Lougou to see what can be done to help the students with some of their basic needs.

COFHED Property and Staff

We are finding out gradually how much COFHED lost during the passage of the hurricane. In addition to the hurricane losses, we were also robbed and quite a bit of our personal and office equipment was taken. Our office is open, but with limited access to electricity and internet. Most of our staff are busy doing field visits and assessments.

We are working hard toward getting the new building ready so we can move in and have a workable office. All damaged windows have been fixed. We just finished putting a door in the office bathroom. All of our office furniture is badly damaged. Some of it can be repaired and some needs to be replaced.

We appreciate your prayers for continued endurance and strength.

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Update 02 – October 11th

“We are at my mom’s place (in Les Cayes) because Carmelle’s house is full of people. She is exhausted. Nick and I are dumbfounded but there is no time to waste, just need to get things going. Three people from Lougou came (to Camp Perrin) today and told us there is not one house standing in Lougou except for four of the seven houses that COFHED built. Three of the houses that COFHED built lost their roofs. Over 300 people took shelter at the school (La Petite Academe), but the roof of the clinic is gone. Some of the teacher’s houses are totally destroyed- no longer there at all.In Marc, the same thing- people are taking shelter in the school that Build On helped them build last year. In Raymond- the same thing. The news of the hurricane didn’t reach people in that area. Although the day before the hurricane Ginette told people to take their megaphone and go from house to house and announce it. They haven’t had electricity for so long, people hadn’t listened to the news. People went to the mountains where they plant beans to dry their beans and take care of their gardens. The entire hurricane hit them there in the mountains. Four people in Raymond died and were picked up in the mountains. They keep looking for others.
Lougou hasn’t started looking for people in the mountains yet. It’s just story upon story of tragedy. People are hungry right now and just don’t know what to do. The community leaders from Lougou were using whatever means they had to feed people. Help has not reached them yet. Tomorrow is another day. We’re going to try and go back (from Les Cayes to the rented mission house in Camp Perrin) to see what we can do. We need to take care of COFHED. At least we need some structure in place. The people from Lougou came to the house and saw the devastation. They were dumbfounded. Everybody got hit.
Please pass this note along. I’ll keep you updated.”

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Posted in News | Comments Off on Update 02 – October 11th

Update 01 – October 11th

We’d like to thank all of our supporters for their prayers and contributions to the Hurricane Matthew recovery effort. Nick and Madeleine arrived safely in Camp-Perrin last night and are beginning a full assessment of the damage today. All of the COFHED staff are accounted for, but our staffers Ginette and Menes are currently housing over 30 people in their home. We’ve learned that our partner communities have experienced widespread devastation and numerous fatalities in the wake of the hurricane. Most of their sustenance crops were destroyed by the storm, so food shortages are probable. If you would like to contribute now to the ongoing recovery effort, please click on this link to donate.

 

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