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Quake destroys longtime PC(USA)-related hospital

Wisconsin mission group is also okay after Haitian disaster

January 15, 2010

A man standing in a dimly lit makeshift trauma center.

A makeshift trauma center established by “Hope for Haiti” provides immediate care for the thousands of earthquake victims in Port au Prince. —Photos by Tiffany Kuehner, Hope for Haiti (courtesy of Rob Maggs, PC(USA) Board of Pensions)

LOUISVILLE

As the desperate search continues in Haiti for remaining survivors, confirmation has been received that Hopital Sainte Croix (Holy Cross Hospital) in Leogane — a major focus of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission in Haiti for decades — collapsed in the Jan. 12 quake.

The hospital is a ministry of the PC(USA)’s partner church in Haiti, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.

A medical worker living in Leogane told National Public Radio this morning (Jan. 15) that the 7.3-magnitude quake, whose epicenter was very near Leogane, destroyed the entire city. “There is nothing left standing,” she said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

The Presbyterian News Service has learned that a fourth PC(USA) congregational mission team — from First Presbyterian Church in LaCrosse, Wisc., was in Haiti when the quake struck. The medical mission team, led by the church’s pastor, the Rev. J. Taylor Haley, were scheduled to return to the U.S. tomorrow (Jan. 16), but will remain in Haiti “for at least a few more days,” said the Rev. Galen Smith of nearby West Union, Iowa.  

Three other mission teams that were in Haiti at the time of the quake — from Lawrenceville (N.J.) Presbyterian Church, from Warrenton (Va.) Presbyterian Church and from First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta — previously reported that they were safe and unharmed.

The First-Atlanta group was expected to arrive back in Atlanta sometime Friday afternoon.

PC(USA) missionary Sharyn Babe, who sustained injuries to her leg and back when her apartment building in Port au Prince collapsed in the quake, is now being treated in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after she was initially medically-evacuated to Cuba. Her husband, Rodney, who was not home at the time of the quake and was not seriously injured, is attempting to join her in Fort Lauderdale.

Another PC(USA) mission worker, Mark Hare, and his wife, Jenny, live in Papay, a town about 100 miles from the epicenter of the quake. The Hares have told Presbyterian World Mission that Papay did not receive major damage and that they are safe.

Pix Mahler, who serves under mission appointment as the partnerships facilitator for Haiti, was not in the country at the time of the earthquake. She works primarily from her home in Virginia.

One of thousands of collapsed buildings in Port au Prince testifies to the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Photos by Tiffany Kuehner, Hope for Haiti (courtesy of Rob Maggs, PC(USA) Board of Pensions)

PC(USA) phone lines and Web links continue to be flooded with responses from people wishing to help. Sara Lisherness, director of the General Assembly Mission Council’s Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministries, says the best response at this time is cash donations.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has already sent $100,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing offering funds to support the immediate crisis response. PDA disaster specialist Carlos Cardenas is part of an assessment team from ACT International — the Geneva-based global ecumenical alliance which includes the PC(USA) — that is on the ground in Haiti determining how the churches can most effectively help meet the overwhelming needs there.

PDA is accepting donations through PDA account number DR000064. Gifts can also be made by calling Presbytel toll-free 800-872-3283  weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST) and checks can be mailed to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, Penn. 15264-3700. Most congregations are also receiving donations during worship services this weekend.

Worship resources and updated information on PDA’s response to the tragedy in Haiti is available on the PDA Web site.

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