Hurricane Tomas Update

by Mike Zurn, Assistant Director for Haiti Bible Mission

Hurricane Tomas hit Jeremie during the evening of November 4th. Tomas brought with it heavy wind and rain that persisted throughout the night and early morning. The eye of the storm came over the city on the morning of the 5th, followed by more rain and wind, but of a lesser magnitude. By Friday evening, the storm had passed.
Property damage in Jeremie was minimal though many suffered - and continue to suffer - because of inadequate shelter. Post-storm conditions made for sloppy travel and interfered with commerce in Jeremie for a day or two. Intra-island travel was also disrupted and international flights out of Port experienced delays through the weekend. On Saturday morning, I spoke with UN observers at the Jeremie airport who arrived by helicopter to assess storm damages. They reported not seeing much damage from the air between Port au Prince and Jeremie.
Twenty volunteers from Moses Lake (WA) Presbyterian Church and I were present with Mark and Dave during the storm. Wind gusts caused some trees to fall at the Mission compound, but God showed us favor and the Mission did not suffer significant losses. Though the weather interfered with the group’s ministry schedule, some rural Haitian churches served by the Mission were deeply blessed with children-related ministries, construction work and medical services both before and after the storm.
Before leaving Jeremie, I heard Mark and Dave had received preliminary reports of serious property losses in one remote mountainous regions just a few miles from Jeremie. Over the next few weeks, the Mission will be assessing the extent of loss experienced by the churches it serves and more information will follow.
Thank you for praying for the Mission and our Haitian brothers and sisters. Based on forecasts, the storm’s impact could have been devastating in and around Jeremie. We are quick to thank our Lord for his favor. But reports of flooding, property damage and death in other parts of Haiti make my heart sad. Please  pray that good will somehow come from it. I do not know how this can be, but we do believe in a good and loving God who is able. (Matthew 9:27-29)