Irma-It Could Have Been So Much Worse!

At one point, Hurricane Irma was projected to track exactly along the edge of the Haitian coastline where we live. At the time, the storm was at 185mph with gusts well past 200mph.

All of the reports aren’t in yet, but in Northwest Haiti, we know that all the crops are gone, blown away by the wind.  Many animals are also lost.  Now we are wondering for future storms how we need to shelter the animals.

In Passe Catabois where we live, we know of four roofs lost among the church community. Results from other neighborhoods are still drifting in. The damage at higher elevations was much worse. We are waiting for news from churches like Margo which is above 3000’ elevation. We know there is damage to many houses, but we don’t know how much, who was impacted, or more details yet.

In two places, we went ahead and took the tin roofs off knowing that if we didn’t remove them, the storm would. And I also lobbied for the men to take all the satellite internet dishes down. They wanted to leave two installed. In the end, they brought all the satellite dishes down…and were very thankful they did. Engineer Sadrack said that he had never seen the wind blow like that in before in his lifetime.

After Hurricane Matthew, we repaired some houses that had the mud walls washed away by horizontally driven rain. They were fine. But a lot more houses had the wall panels washed out this time.  It was a scary moment to be in your home in the darkness with rain blowing in through the holes in the walls and no place to get out of it. Or being in a house when, all of the sudden, the whole roof picked up and blows off to crash down outside in a big heap.

But, it could have been a whole lot worse! The final track of the storm took a turn 150-180 miles north of Haiti. At that distance, Hurricane Irma which was a powerful CAT 5 storm still lashed our part of Haiti with 100mph gusts. Judging by the damage that we have heard about so far, had it been any closer, the damage would have been more devastating.

Thankfully, we are talking about damages and not deaths. We don’t know of any fatalities in our area, praise God. However, for several months following the hurricanes, everyone is going to be hungry until we can replant and gardens have time to recover.

Last Monday, we got news that our boat would sail but wait until after the storm passed. It looked bleak with our ship (Slingshot-which holds our cargo for Haiti) at the dock in Miami in the direct path of the hurricane that was projected to make landfall as CAT 4.

People we know in Miami report that the city got beat up and they still have no power. But the storm went west of Miami, and it wasn’t near as bad as it could have been. We are very thankful and have appreciated your prayers. When I called to find out about the ships, I interrupted one friend who was using water from his swimming pool in the backyard to shower. The other ship we use is okay and getting ready to leave as soon as practically possible. We were advised today that the Slingshot seems to be okay. Personally, I can’t imagine that the tarp covering the boat is still there, but they are talking about sailing next week.

Please continue to pray for the people in Northwest Haiti as they are working hard to set up plans shelter and food for the next few days. Please pray for us as we have to determine where to help first and when the recovery work we were doing from the hurricane last October can start again. Please pray that the Slingshot will be ready to go and that they can really sail and get the cargo to us in Haiti soon.

And please remember our friends at First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs, FL near Naples. They have been very active in helping in Haiti. They were planning on the church being a shelter and recovery center for this hurricane. We don’t have any news yet but know they were in the crosshairs.

Thanks for your prayers and notes of encouragement.

In Christ,

Bruce and Deb Robinson

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