Saturday, January 16, 2010

Earthquake UPDATE on Fondwa

Dear Friends of PIP,
Three days after the massive earthquake shook nearly all of Haiti indirect reports from Fondwa are beginning to arrive. These are not completely confirmed, but they are sufficiently consistent and convergent to conclude that they are likely to be largely accurate.
Earlier today we received a report from Vital Gerard, professor at the University of Fondwa (UNIF), via phone call to Riche Zamor, the UNIF rector, saying “the whole town of Fondwa has collapsed”. Vital reported that he and several UNIF students ran from the UNIF building at the first tremor. Some students were injured getting through the gate, but all managed to escape. Vital made his way to Leogane where he was able to get a motorcycle ride to Okay (Les Cayes) where he has family.
At mid-day we received another indirect report via Joyce Kim, former volunteer in Fondwa and former PIP board member, and via Thomas Pitaud, former volunteer in Fondwa.
In the report Thomas says the following:
I just talked on the phone with Manno, He was able to talk to Kettly and Herault who was just coming from Centre APF.
APF center: Destroyed
School: Destroyed
University: Destroyed
Fonkoze Tombe Gateau: Damaged
Eglise St Antoine [Fondwa church]: Damaged
Atelye ebenist [carpentry shop]: Destroyed
Big House gwo makout la in front of Fonkoze: Destroyed [This would be “Pastor Luke’s House”]
Thomas reported several [unconfirmed] deaths and injuries (including almost 30 children in Tombe Gateau (Tom Gato) who were in the Philadelphia Church there). Thomas’ report says that Sr. Carmelle, and Sr. Simone and the “medam yo” (guest center staff) were NOT among the dead or injured.
Later this afternoon I spoke again by phone to Riche Zamour who had been able to telephone Fr. Joseph’s sister in Brooklyn. She confirmed first that Fr. Joseph is OK and second that Fondwa was devastated and there were several casualties and injuries.
Finally this afternoon I received a report from Humility of Mary Sister Joanne Gardner, H.M. (via Joyce Rothermel), who had spoken to Sr. Judy Dohner, H.M., who was in Fondwa as a volunteer with the Sisters of St. Antoine in Fondwa.
Joanne wrote the following:
Judy called me and said that it is horrible where she is – the buildings are all down. It was the worst thing she has ever been through. One of the novices died and one of the children also. They had the funerals yesterday. She has a concussion and a broken rib. She said they have nothing there. This was all she had time to say as her cell phone was going down. Let us continue to pray for all of them.
None of the reports contained specific information about the Fatima House Orphanage and the children there or the Sisters Motherhouse and the sisters living there, although Joanne's report, based on her conversation with Sr.. Judy, suggests that they are also collapsed. We continue to wait, and pray, and hope.
With gratitude for the living and grief for those lost,
Rich Gosser
Executive Director
Partners in Progress

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