ELLINWOOD — The ravaging force of a hurricane is beyond the imagination of those that have never experienced one, and most in this country have never experienced homelessness or hunger. Yet one small country in the Caribbean seems to continuously struggle with nature.
Beginning last Friday, tropical storm Isaac pounded the country of Haiti. More than twenty hours of rain caused flash floods that destroyed property and took lives. The hardest hit area is southwest of the capital. The mountainous region is perfect for flash floods. Torrents of water raced down the mountainsides, often creating its own path, leaving water, mud, dead animals, banana plants flooded houses and schools in its wake. It also cut roads, making access a problem.
Two of Ellinwood-based Star of Project communities were hardest hit.
Tony Bourisquot, program manager reported in Marigot, 46 families have taken refuge in the Star of Hope school. These folks have lost everything to the mud slides coming down on them from the mountains. Those who still have a structure are shoveling mud and debris out of the house. Many of these have lost the entire contents, beds, furniture, clothing and food supplies.
“In Hesse, on the top of the mountain range, our just-completed new school building has lost its roof to the wind and rain,” he said. The people are saying the crops in the area are a complete loss.
Communication is difficult and Star of Hope staff has not yet been able to assess the complete damage, Bourisquot said. Volunteer work teams from Barton County have visited and done service projects in Hesse.
“The staff in Haiti is still assessing what is needed,” said Mark Presson, an Ellinwood director of SOH. They need to determine if carpenters are needed or if they need people to play with the kids. The group is planning to take volunteers to Haiti in the next 30 days.
Star of Hope has set up a disaster relief fund and is asking for donations to make resources available for its Haiti staff to meet the localized needs. For ways to help, visit their website www.starofhope.us.
Star of Hope is a non-profit faith based organization located in Ellinwood. They may be reached at (866) 653-0321 or email@example.com.