Displaying items by tag: Haiti
As if Haiti doesn’t have enough to deal with, gang activity is now complicating earthquake relief efforts. The earthquake death toll stands at 2,200 with at least 340 still missing. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is conducting emergency medical flights and flying in aid. But since the roads aren’t a great option for transporting relief, the need is overwhelming. MAF’s Dave McCleery says, ‘Gang activity has affected Port-au-Prince for a long time. They have taken control of and closed the main roads into the southern peninsula where the earthquake took place. This is a real concern because of the large quantity of aid that’s needed. We can certainly fly in and deliver it, but it’s much more expensive and takes a lot longer than if it’s delivered by road.’
The devastation grows daily following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake killing over 2,000 and injuring 10,000; many are still missing. Tropical storm Grace hovered directly over the quake-ravaged portion of Haiti for two days, adding more misery to displaced survivors. Many hospitals are damaged. Medics attempt to transfer patients to Port-au-Prince. One hospital is treating severely injured victims in tents outside the building. On 18 August people were still arriving with broken limbs. Storm Grace has hindered humanitarian aid or the need to assess the extent of the damage. UNICEF said aid to 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, will cost $15 million. 385,000 are most urgently in need; 167,000 are children. Thousands of buildings were destroyed. People camp out in fields where UNICEF distributes blankets, hygiene and kitchen kits, plus shelter repair items for 30,000 people. They need medical staff, supplies, and full access to electricity and water. Dictatorships and natural disasters have left 59% of Haitians living in poverty. Pray for political stability.
15,500+ have fled Port-au-Prince. Homes, churches, businesses and schools have been burnt down or occupied by gangs. Haiti’s president was attacked in his home and killed. Tearfund works closely with the League of Pastors, a network of church leaders in Port-au-Prince. As soon as the violence escalated, they set up shelters for those who had fled, and Tearfund provided food, hygiene kits, and cash assistance for other essential needs. The shelters were soon overcrowded, so church leaders opened their homes. They also wanted to help the gang members. So the League of Pastors nominated leaders in their churches to be trained in peacebuilding and conflict-resolution skills. It is hoped this will lead to community dialogues with gang members and bring about healing and restoration in their communities and peace for Haiti. The church continues to be a refuge and a hope to people during this crisis, but the situation remains critical.
President Moïse was assassinated on 7 July amid rising political tensions and violence. He was killed after pursuing an aggressive agenda, including rewriting the country’s constitution. The Bishops' Conference said the proposed changes to Haiti’s constitution while in the middle of a socio-political crisis were not wise. Vatican News reported violence had escalated under Moïse’s rule, and the Haitian people were bearing the brunt of it. The bishops wrote, ‘The daily life of the Haitian people is reduced to death, murders, impunity and insecurity. Discontent is everywhere, in almost all areas.’ They called on Moïse to step down as his five-year term had expired in February. Jamaica’s prime minister said, ‘The assassination is a stain on Haiti and a sorrowful time for the Caribbean. May God be a special covering over his family and over the people of Haiti during this dark time in the nation’s history.’
Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest nation, is often devastated by floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, with poverty making these disasters harsher than in richer countries. Money sent home by Haitians overseas saves lives but does not fill Haiti’s biggest needs: roads, bridges, clinics, schools and electricity. 70% of Haitians are Catholics, but many mingle their Catholicism with voodoo, which is rooted in West African animism. Evangelicals have grown in numbers, through love in action and openly standing against voodoo. Pray for good leaders at every level of society and church who will build the nation rather than loot or exploit it. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Haiti that will transform lives and communities. A truly renewed Catholic Church would be a great force for good. Pray that Catholics re-centre on simple, personal trust in Christ so that God can build their lives.
Kidnappings for ransom have surged as gangs gain influence amid a political crisis. Seven Catholic clergy, five Haitian and two French, have been kidnapped. The five priests and two nuns were abducted in a commune northeast of Port-au-Prince, while they were on their way to the installation of a new parish priest. The kidnappers demanded $1m ransom for them. The Haitian Conference of Believers said three other people had been kidnapped at the same time. Authorities suspect an armed gang called ‘400 Mawozo’ which kidnaps for ransom. Armed gangs have increased as the nation is rocked by political unrest. Gang violence and political instability has drawn protesters onto the streets at the subhuman situation where the political leaders cling to power, but are increasingly powerless.
Teachers in Haiti have refused to return to classrooms, even taking to the streets to protest a lack of pay and safe working conditions. This was already a problem and the pandemic made it worse. Haiti runs in cycles. Their government gets money. Sometimes it doles it out and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, police work for months without payment. Teachers can work for the entire school year without payment. Theft has become an expected part of the culture. Haiti with Love has been sharing the Gospel with parents who bring in their children for burn treatment. People are very open to listening when they realise that the reason people are helping their babies is the love of Christ. They ask, ‘Who is this Christ who provides all of this help? Tell me about him.’ Pray for the Burn Clinic, and also for Pilgrim House which provides homes for homeless people.
Around 44 million people live in the Caribbean, three-quarters of them in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Everywhere, the same stories are familiar themes - a legacy of colonial rule and slavery, a current story of fragility, inequality, and broken families. Some islands have very high rates of violent crime. In many countries there is a deep sense of God, and evangelical movements are growing. The most urgent and strategic need is for greater discipleship of the millions of Christians in the Caribbean. Pray also for church unity, for spiritual formation and discipleship, and for the churches to make an impact in society, particularly those with inroads to voodoo. Voodoo is the name for the religious practices of many Haitians; some prefer to identify their religion as ‘serving the spirits.’ See
26 Canadian missionaries working for Haiti Arise became stranded by violent protests 31 miles outside Port-au-Prince. Lisa Honorat, co-founder of Haiti Arise, said, ‘It started to get really scary. It is all over the country, not just in the city.’ The missionaries were safely rescued, but demonstrations calling for the president and prime minister to resign continue, alongside soaring inflation and corruption allegations. Protesters demand an independent investigation over suspicions that officials and former ministers misappropriated development funds from oil deals between Caribbean countries and Venezuela amounting to £1.55bn. Port-au-Prince has been rocked by torched cars and deadly protests since 7 February. Five Americans were arrested on conspiracy charges, and eight others are being held for possession of illegal weapons. See
Jadine Louissaint is a second-generation Haitian born and raised in the USA. While growing up, she experienced the stigma associated with her culture and ancestry, and tried to escape from that social disadvantage through education and a good career. She trained as a nurse and did an MBA in healthcare, but in 2015 realised that something was missing from her life. She began to seek God through prayer and fasting. He showed her that His will and purpose for her life was not only to embrace her culture and heritage for herself, but to seek to empower young Haitian women and girls to effect positive change in their country - spiritually, socially, and culturally. In response, she founded TransforMe Ayiti (Transform Haiti), which seeks to provide the next generation of women leaders and innovators with tools for success. Jadine’s vision is to help Haiti become a self-sustained country, by investing in its most precious resource: the youth, specifically young women.