I have written a few times about the charity, Mercy & Sharing, which has been working exclusively in Haiti for more than 15 years. Susie Krabacher and her husband, Joe, an attorney in Colorado, have done amazing work for the children in Haiti.
Mercy & Sharing, www.haitichildren.org, has established schools, orphanages, a hospital, medical clinics and feeding centers, despite corruption, threats of violence and a lack of infrastructure. Most of their work is centered in or around Port-au-Prince.
They have been responsible for saving thousands of children from disease, poverty, violence and the black market. However, the earthquake that devastated the area is threatening the well-being of their children, as well as everyone on staff.
What follows is an account sent to me by Joe Krabacher of their current conditions as of Sunday morning. It is a disturbing account of the nightmare that has descended on the poorest country in the Western hemisphere that is only 600 miles from the coast of Florida.
Susie drove into Port-au-Prince with a translator, security, satellite phones, medical supplies and new four wheel drives hoping that their children were spared the devastation.
"Susie, Jeff, Bill, Jacques and two Haitian police (as security), crossed the border into Haiti and arrived at the Williamson project this afternoon," wrote Joe. "Unfortunately, things are not as we had hoped. Typically, we have approximately 85 employees working eight-hour shifts around-the-clock. There were only a handful of employees on site trying to take care of hundreds of children. They are trying to stabilize the situation in Williamson before nightfall.
"Many of the children have not had water or food in two days; the handicapped children have bed sores. There is no diesel fuel to run the generators, which power the water pumps, electric and internet communications. The well's hand pumps are largely ineffective. They are getting water and food for the children this evening, and then searching for a place to stay that might have internet or other communications.
"We now have reports that the children of the abandoned baby unit have been without food and water for two days. They are reportedly alive, but the morgue is piling up with hundreds of bodies, and the morgue is located right next to the abandoned baby unit.
"The office building and hospital in Port-au-Prince have been completely demolished. We have lost all of our paperwork and records, which are lying in the debris and blowing around the streets. The project has been completely looted.
"The team is traveling to Port-au-Prince tomorrow to go to the Cazeau orphanage. We have reports that Cazeau is not safe because the walls collapsed, there are men with machetes robbing anyone with anything of value, and the people in the neighborhood have stormed the building, overpowered the guard and have taken up occupancy in what is left of the buildings on that property. We intend to remove all the remaining children from Cazeau and take them to Williamson tomorrow.
"Madame Chenet, (a staff member) is very traumatized. She has been living in her car and because she has experienced the devastation, she is likely in shock. Dr. Rodriquez lost four family members, Dr. Algenor lost his brother. Our accountant lost his two brothers. Madame Chenet said it is total devastation around her.
"Above all, pray fervently for the U.S. team and the children, as well as the staff, our medical doctors and medical personnel."
They are in urgent need of cash donations, and I've seen firsthand the love and support of my readers for others. If you would like to help Mercy & Sharing, you can donate on line at www.haitichildren.org. Please do not send supplies. The money that has been donated so far has helped them to collect more than 100 tons of supplies that they are dispersing as quickly as they can to save the children and staff members in their care.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at: Martha@marthasbigadventure.com.