An update from Fr. Enzo del Brocco, CP, on the relief efforts in Haiti.
Through the help of the Nunciature, Catholic Relief Services, USAID, and the US military force, we were able to carry out our first delivery of rice and water to the population of La Serengue by helicopter. It has been quite an adventure, and only after much persistence and meeting people of good will on each side was this made possible.
Arrangements were made that we would go by military helicopter to help make the delivery to the people in the area where we are known through our St Luke School.
After several hours, the military team told us that we were ready to take off. Two Blackhawk helicopters were loaded with 5.5 tons of rice, and many bags of water. I was amazed at how the military helped us load the helicopters, making a chain and throwing the bags from one hand to another, from the highest rank down.
The helicopters looked overloaded. In fact, we just skimmed the water as we flew. For the pilots, it was their first time flying into this area. When we reached Abricot, we flew around two or three times overhead in order to really see the full scope of the devastation.
Before we took off, we called one of the community leaders to ask them to help organize the people prior to our arrival. When we reached our destination, we found the soccer field completely cleared, and the people standing on the top of the hills around the field waiting for our arrival. As soon as we touched down and the people saw who we were, they began to wave and cheer and clap their hands.
The military allowed us to call ten people from the community down to help unload the helicopter. They, along with the military members helped in the chain of passing the bags of rice from hand to hand stacking them on the ground. From the soccer field to the school is an uphill walk of at least 15-20 minutes. Most of the people in this area are currently taking shelter and sleeping at the school because they have nowhere else to go. It’s a rocky, steep climb, and the local guys put on their shoulders 2 bags of rice at a time, one on each shoulder, and made it up the hill. Once at the top we stored the rice in one of the school rooms, with plans to distribute daily portions at a time to the families in the community.
I stayed in La Serengue that night. The next day I visited with the community. We prayed together and planned the next steps for their recovery needs including hygiene rules, roofing, seeds, livestock, fishing boats and nets. Since the Hurricane we allowed the people to take shelter in the first floor of our school, but now it is very important to move quickly to the next steps of recovery because this living situation can quickly become a source of diseases. It is also important that the school reopen as soon as possible for the sake of the children’s education and to allow their parents to work in the fields.
Please continue to keep us in prayer.
Fr. Enzo del Brocco, CP
Dear Friend of the Passionists,
Our Passionists in Haiti are truly witnessing the Passion of Jesus in the suffering of the people who have been devastated by Hurricane Matthew.
Our own Passionist, Fr. Hugo Esparza-Pérez, CP, recently joined the Passionist ministry in Haiti with Fr. Enzo del Brocco, CP, of Italy, and Fr. Rick Frechette, CP, of our eastern province, a medical doctor who has been living and working in Haiti for almost 30 years.
We received word from Fr. Rick yesterday regarding the devastation and destruction that Hurricane Matthew left in Haiti:
There was a lot of flooding and damage in Port au Prince. We spend the day delivering water, food and supplies to the many areas in the slums where we work. We were taking from our storerooms everything we had available to help the people who were identified as needing urgent help.
We have no news at all of our schools and our staff in Les Cayes, Jacmel or Jeremie. What is worse, the bridge near Leogane was washed away so there is no way at the moment to reach these places.
Please consider a donation to help our Passionists. They will be able to assess where the need is greatest and use your contribution to its maximum potential.
With the ongoing need for shelter, food and fresh water, 100% of your donation will go to the Passionists in Haiti to provide for the neediest residents affected by the hurricane.
Surely, we are witnessing the Passion of Christ unfolding once again in Haiti. Your contribution to this relief effort is a blessing and greatly appreciated.
Please keep our Passionists, staff, and above all, the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers.
Yours in Christ’s love,
Fr. Michael Higgins, CP