CHF-Haiti Blog Update - Jan. 17, 2010: Areas beyond Port-au-Prince

Leogane Catholic Church was destroyed in teh earthquake.

PHOTO: Ruins of the Catholic Church in 
Leogane, a town of 134,000 people 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince.  The UN estimates that estimates that 80-90% of Leogane was destroyed by the earthquake.

CHF-Haiti Blog Update, Sunday January 17, 2010 – Areas beyond Port-au-Prince

CHF received a huge amount of information on areas beyond Port-au-Prince from our Field Director Bob Fagen. Bob and his entirely Haitian team based in Petit Goave have been supporting the Boy Scouts and Red Cross with a donation of tools such as wheelbarrows and shovels, plus loads of facemasks, shirts, hats, and gloves. The Boy Scouts have been key to rescue efforts in the city and showed an impressively organized response to the earthquake in Petit Goave. CHF is proud to be partnering with them.

CHF working with Boy Scouts in Petit Goave

PHOTO: The CHF-Haiti team based in Petit Goave is providing tools to the Boy Scouts and Red Cross.

Bob was able to travel beyond Petit Goave to Grand Goave and Legoane. Some of his observations are below.

Grand Goave

  • The main Catholic Church on the Place Publique in the center of town and its rectory were both destroyed. We were able to speak to the priest who had survived and he is in good spirits, in spite of the destruction
  • A tent city has been erected on the Place Publique. At night it swells to 5,000 people. There are 5-6 similar tent cities throughout Grand Goave, each with 3,000-5,000 people at night.
  • Grand Goave, while battered by the earthquake, is not as visibly devastated as either Petit-Goave or Leogane. However, Grand Goave depended on Petit Goave for much of its potable water, and the shortages in Petit Goave have significantly affected Grand Goave. Considering the tent city phenomenon and the lack of water, it is only a matter of time before disease becomes an issue in Grand Goave.

Leogane

  • MINUSTAH (UN mission in Haiti) were undertakni g a protein cookie distribution in front of Leogane City Hall to mostly women and children.
  • Much of Leogane, both downtown and the surrounding area, was flattened by the quake and unconfirmed estimates put the death toll as high as 100,000. We sincerely hope this is far higher than the reality.
  • Between Leogane and L'Acul we passed a destroyed water pump that is indicative of the below-the-surface damage that has crippled many wells and reservoirs in the region. Potable water is and will continue to be a major issue for the region until water supplies can be repaired or replaced.
  • The Ecole National Anna Karina, a high school in the city center of Leogane, was flattened completely. Tragically class was in session at the time.
  • Churches appear to have suffered extraordinary damage from the quake, with most crumbling, especially the larger structures.
  • The financial system in affected cities has been paralyzed by the earthquake. While some supplies are available, prices have skyrocketed and people simply do not have access to what little money they have in the bank.
  • We saw collapsed wooden houses on stilts, common in historic Leogane, a city of approximately 134,000. Many of the multi-level Leogane homes fell to the ground after the stilts and supporting beams collapsed underneath them. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 80-90% of Leogane was destroyed by the earthquake.

CHF plans to work with relief agencies in these hard hit areas and wants to draw attention to the plight of the Haitian people outside of Port-au-Prince, who are suffering the same privations and tragedies. 

Tent city in Grand Goave

PHOTO: A tent city on the Place 
Publique in Grand Goave. At night it swells to 5,000 people. 

Region: Haiti, The Americas
Area of expertise: Humanitarian Assistance