Drought and Famine: Here's how you can help.
Updated: May 4, 2020
We sent out another e-newsletter today detailing the life-threatening challenges our community is currently facing. You can read it below.
May 1, 2020
Our hearts have ached as we have watched the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in your part of the world. We know that many are facing hardships and fear beyond anything they could have imagined, and our hearts and prayers are with you! We pray that God would provide for your needs and guard your hearts from fear. We pray that in this time of so much uncertainty, His peace and love would reign in your hearts and flow over to those around you.
Knowing that many of you are going through tough times right now, we have, for some weeks now, intentionally avoided sharing the needs of our community. But as we have received messages from many of you asking how we are and if there are ways you can help, we have decided it’s time to bring you into the realities we are confronting.
To put it briefly, our community is in the midst of the worst drought in 27 years and is facing the possibility of country-wide famine in the next few months.
A few days ago, in communications with a fellow missionary, I was informed that this part of Haiti has not experienced a drought of this proportion since 1992. I was blown away. I knew it was bad. But we are always facing drought. I had no idea the proportion of what we are dealing with. But really, whether it is the worst in 27 years or in 3, when people do not have enough water to drink or to cook with, let alone to bathe and clean, or water livestock and gardens, it is a distressing situation.
There is only one well--in a community over an hour and a half away--that is providing any significant quantity of water for over 43,000 people (based on population estimates from 2015). Our three water trucks and every other water truck in the area are trucking water from this one source. The people in that community depend on their water for their gardens and their own needs. Now, they are being overwhelmed by the urgent need for water in the hundreds of communities around them. Our own water trucks cannot keep up with the demand. Our drivers are working 16 hours a day trying to get water to those who so desperately need it. But it will never be enough.
The truth of the matter is we cannot fix this problem. There is nothing we can do that will get all the water that is needed to all the people who so desperately need it. This is a hard truth to face. But it is the truth, and we must face it. How? First, by praying for God’s guidance, grace, wisdom, and provision. Then, in two additional way
We will do all we can to continue to keep our water trucks on the road and provide water to as many people as we can.
We will plan for the future. We will prepare as best we can to make the most of the rain we get when we get it. We will help our local farmers prepare and improve their canals so that when the ravines flood their gardens will be watered. We will continue to work on rainwater catchment holes that can contain and conserve the water we get through rains and ravines. We will continue the painstaking process of tree-planting to work toward a better environment for the next generation.
As I mentioned earlier, the current water crisis is not all we are facing. Haiti is also facing a famine of “biblical proportions,” according to the UN World Food Program. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was predicted that food insecurity in Haiti would soon reach “emergency levels” (see here for an article from December 2019). Now, with the effects of this pandemic, the World Food Program has listed Haiti among 10 countries facing “catastrophe” (see here). Again, in this situation there is nothing that we can do that will provide food for everyone suffering from hunger or facing starvation. This is also a hard truth to face, and a frightening one. But, again, we must face it. How? First, by praying some more. Then, in the following ways:
We will create an emergency food reserve to be used to help the most vulnerable.
We will again look toward the future by creating temporary work projects (aka cash/food-for-work) focused on stabilizing the local food supply while at the same time providing much needed income to face skyrocketing food prices.
We know this pandemic has affected everyone. But if you are able to help financially, here are a few ways your donation will be used:
1. Subsidizing the cost of water.
There is a very real cost for trucking water from hours away and many of those who desperately need the water cannot afford to pay for a truckload. Each donation of $40 enables us to provide one truckload of water at half-price.
2. Keeping our trucks on the road.
Our local roads destroy vehicles. Add to the normal wear and tear the fact that our trucks are carrying 25,000-33,000 lbs of water and making 4 roundtrips a day, and you can imagine how much it takes to keep them going. We have to regularly change tires, replace broken parts, and combat the effects of salty water and dust.
3. Providing jobs that create a better future.
Each donation of $30 gives one man or woman a job in a project that will move the community one step closer to food and water security.
4. Creating an emergency food reserve.
Even now there are many around us who are unable to eat every day. This is only expected to get worse and more widespread. While temporary work projects help the able-bodied, there are many who cannot work, such as young children, the elderly, the handicapped, and the sick. We must be prepared to help the most vulnerable through more direct aid as the need arises.
If you are unable to help financially at this time, please do not minimize the value of your prayers for us and for our community. Please pray that we would have wisdom and courage to face these realities and for God’s provision in His way for the needs of our community.
Thank you for being a part of our ministry and for walking with us through these very difficult times. May God bless you!
You can view the e-mail in its original format here.
May 4, 2020: Sorry, the above link was wrong: Here is the correct one.