Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’


The Miracles of Haiti

   Posted by: admin   in Sustainability

In January, 2009, a monster quake leveled the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Upwards of 170,000 humans lost their lives in this country of about 10M. Major aftershocks kept what rescue teams were available on edge. Rubble-strewn roads and a medium-sized airport constricted the arrival and dispersal of needed supplies. And the clock was already ticking. Haiti barely has enough fresh water on its good days, and it was still struggling to recover from a recent hurricane. People buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings could not last much longer than 3 days without water, injuries permitting.

I found one article that referred to the truck full of medical supplies fresh off the plane that was on the road when the earthquake hit as a ‘miracle’. I don’t know if that was so much a ‘miracle’ than just plain old good planning on God’s part. There wasn’t any extraordinary human effort involved. The same could be said for having an obstetrician catching an early flight, making a wrong turn, and being at a small clinic when a pregnant woman with complications from the 7.0 quake showed up there.

But after 3 days the organs of the people trapped without water started to shut down, and the death toll rose exponentially by the hour. One story was of an 84 year old woman who was found and rescued, and that of a single surviving child in a pre-school. Within days the search teams disbanded, and then the woman found by her husband was located and extracted. She had access to water, though. Then there is the story of the 8 and 10-year olds pulled from the rubble 7 days after the quake. The team of rescuers were sorely discouraged from pulling the bodies of 3 of the kids siblings, but didn’t give up.

Now during this time there were numerous after-shocks, in which rescuers became victims. One of these was buried for 12 days, and had run out of water on the morning he was found. He was barely able to make a detectable sound at just the right time, and became one of the 133 or so who were rescued in the two weeks following the quake. Among those were a few who drank their own urine to sustain themselves until help arrived. There was also a gentleman buried in the flea market for 27 days, but he likely found liquids near him during that time. (He is just now regaining lucidity, so there may be more to this story later).

There is also the story of the 16-year old girl pulled out after 2 weeks without food or water that seems to go beyond normal human endurance. She ended up in her home’s shower stall with a Coke in hand when the walls came crashing down. So she may have had some access to water, and we’re waiting to hear more of her story. Within an hour of hearing her cry she was pulled out of the rubble, totally unresponsive, and has made a remarkable recovery to date.

There was one small story, tucked away in the middle of all this human chaos. As the earth heaved and moved, the underground water delivery system was rearranged. And several sources of water sprang out of the ground in an area that had only known drought before. It made me step back a moment and see things in Haiti in a much, much grander scale. The loss of life of an extremely over-populated speck of land seems a little less appalling, and that if we look, we can find God’s Grace in the worst of human tragedy.