By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID — That’s the assessment of a Northwestern Oklahoma State University graduate who is a missionary in the impoverished island country.
“There is so much food, but they want to give the food out too slow,” Lance Ware said via e-mail of relief efforts. “The U.N. and Haitian government are in charge of most of the relief effort, but it’s hard to get food if you are a non-government organization in this country. They don’t want to give it to non-government organizations who can get the food out.”
Ware is director of Hope in the Light Ministry. His organization provides medical clinics and has a school and church. It also is building an orphanage and is trying to start a food program, which has become much more difficult.
As much as 80 percent of Haiti may have been destroyed in the Jan. 12 earthquake, which registered 7.0. magnitude. Estimates are more than 200,000 people were killed.
“I would say 80 percent. There is damage everywhere. All of Port-au-Prince is destroyed,” Ware said.
He said people are surviving, but their condition prior to the earthquake was poor and is worse now. There are many families with no place to go. People are living in tents and under large sheets and tarps.
“They have no houses, no food,” he said.
Ware, who has lived in Haiti for five years, said his family is OK but is searching for another house.
“The next day (after the earthquake) we went everywhere to find water or any kind of drinks,” he said. “We found 10 gallons of water. That lasted only a few days.”
After that, they looked for more water, as well as bread or crackers that could be eaten with peanut butter. As bad as it was for his family, though, their plight is better than many in Haiti, he said.
Haiti needs food and medicine immediately, and his organization needs clothes for those who lost everything. Eventually, the country will need school supplies and wood to help in reconstruction efforts.
Two of his wife’s cousins were buried in the rubble in the earthquake. One suffered when a large battery fell on his foot and the acid ate away at the foot until it had to be amputated, Ware said. But, he said, the survivors are just happy to be alive.
While most of the focus is on Port-au-Prince, the capital, there are families in the mountains who also are suffering, and Ware said his organization has been working there. Their main focus is in the Kenscoff area, where people are struggling. Many of them lost their homes, and Ware said he wants to be there for them.
“We lost one of our students during the earthquake. This was a sad day for our school. I never wanted to see one of my students die,” he said.
There are many people injured in the villages of Boucan and Madeleine who are waiting for help.
Ware writes a blog with information on the Haiti situation called hopeinthelight.blogspot.com.