Local contractor sees destruction in Haiti

Published 5:57 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

A contractor from Green Creek just returned this week from Haiti and is now working on fundraising to repair a compound and install a water purification system for safe drinking water.
Rev. Phillip Gschwend left last Friday for Haiti with a group of four others sent by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church to find leaders of their church there and report on the their schools and children.
Gschwend tells of the devastation with “thousands of people dead, thousands dying” and a government that lies in shambles.
“All have friends and family dead,” Gschwend reports. “Most of our churches and schools are standing but will need repairs. Many pastors and church family have lost everything and are taking refuge in the churches sleeping outside during the day for fear of aftershocks.”
Gschwend took pictures of a building that collapsed on a babys crib in Port of Prince (see picture on page 5).
One of his church’s children was in the building and survived because the crib held up the roof. Gschwend also tells of a People to People Director telling him that after the quake he went to find his wife at a bible school and dug out 17 people to finally find her alive late in the night.
“As we toured outside the compound we saw house after house destroyed and people living outside of the ruins,” Gschwend wrote in a report to church members this week. “In the middle of death and destruction we did get reports of many miraculously saved.”
Following is a report written by Gschwend this week after returning home on Wednesday:
I went Jan.15 through Jan.20 with a team to find our church leaders and access the damage to our 15 churches and 10 schools.
We flew into the Dominican Republic and then rode a bus to Port au Prince. We found most of the structures in tact and people living in the churches as their homes have been destroyed. People are living in the streets and outside the structures that remain. We were able to bring in medical supplies and food to assist with the rescue effort and have had four shipments of food, water, and tarps for shelter brought in by air. We were able to get downtown and see the desperate plight of the people waiting on assistance and the government buildings destroyed with hundreds of bodies still buried.
Bodies were being buried in mass graves outside the city and many will never know what happened to their families. There were still some bodies lying in the street. We met medical workers from all over the US working thru many organizations trying desperately to save those that are injured. We stayed in a mission organizations compound at night as our headquarters needs to be repaired. I am trying to raise funds for repair of that compound and to install a water purification system in that compound so there could be drinkable water for the people that have taken refuge there. Contributions may be sent to Hendersonville Pentecostal Holiness Church, 991 Upward Rd., Flat Rock, NC 28731

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