Heavy rains and punishing winds ripped through Port-au-Prince on early Friday morning, August 24, - damaging homes and Hands Together school campuses.
"Shortly after the worst of the storm, several of our staff called me to report the scope of the Isaac's damage to our projects and to the populations around the schools," reports Doug Campbell. "They report some flooding, but the real damage came from the gale winds. Many people lost their houses, the roofs on 4 of our school builds were blown off, and several walls and latrines collapsed after torrential waters eroded their bases."
Fr. Tom left Haiti on the heels of the storm, flying standby, on his way to give a mission talk to a parish in Michigan. He returned to Haiti on August 27th and sent me the following email summary of the damage to our projects:
"Got back here today and visited each school except the high school. There was a little damage done to school in Ft. Dimanche (just a inner wall of the latrine..no urgency – we can get to that shortly).
- The St. Jane School in Bellecourt is fine (Digicel funded school).
- Msgr. Conolly School in Bellecourt – roof partially destroyed, 23 classrooms exposed. Needs to be repaired right away.
- HT houses – 12 of the 18 homes we built for people in Bellicouse suffered roof damage. Need to repair quickly as the rains continue.
- St. Ann school lost 1/2 of roof to new school and 1/8 of kitchen roof – need to begin repairs here.
- St. Aviat school in Solei 24 lost the roof to the dining area, it collapsed right into the school. There is other structural damage to the wood framing at certain points too.
- St.Joseph School lost 1/8 of roof to new latrine.
High School seems to be urgent..I heard that a small section of wall is down which leaves school vulnerable – I need to go down for a site visit, and I’ve scheduled a meeting for the staff so we can prepare a response plan to fix things and help the people who lost their houses. ..I will call you during this Meeting..
Immediate Response Plan
On the morning of August 28th, Doug and Fr. Tom conducted a "response plan meeting" with the school staff and leaders from the various communities most affected by Isaac. We reviewed the overall damage and will immediately implement the following response plan:
- Calculate all rebuilding materials needed for the schools and begin repairing the roofs first,
- repair all HT houses for residents,
- offer shelter in our classrooms to any people whose homes were destroyed,
- organize distribution of blankets and sheets that we have on hand at our depot,
- organize a simple food distribution to the 4 hardest hit zones,
- fill the water truck and provide clean drinking water to people living around our school campuses.
We have not received a full report on the problems in Gonaives, but it seems that that area was spared the worst of the storm and suffered only minor flooding and wind damage.