Thursday, January 28, 2010

Delbert Beachy in Haiti Earthquake

Fifteen minutes off their flight and Lavon Bontrager, Michael Ropp, DELBERT BEACHY and James Miller of the Sharon Bethel congregation in Kalona were greeted by the stuff of nightmares - a magnitude 7 earthquake that flattened much of Port-au-Prince and has so far claimed more than 150,000 lives, with many more bodies still buried beneath the rubble.
The four are members of Haiti Relief and Missions, a faith-based Anabaptist charity based in Berlin, Ohio.
Bontrager, as a board member of the organization, had gone on mission business. He served in Haiti from 1997 to 1999.
Bontrager said they were about 15 minutes from the airport near the docks when the quake struck. Their truck began violently pitching and 8-foot high concrete walls surrounding an open-air market began to fall.
"At first I thought there had been an explosion," he said of the natural disaster, describing a huge cloud of dust arising over the downtown area. They continued driving after the initial quake, coming upon Port-au-Prince's three-story post office, now just a flattened mass of concrete.
Those who had made it out of the buildings were crowding the streets. "There was screaming and raving in every directions," he recalled. Their destination was their mission in the village of Labalene, about five hours from Port-au-Prince.
Click for the article By Dan Ehl Kalona News 01/28/2010