Getting Local Relief to Haiti

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One area mission continues its task in Haiti, working around the clock to get people medical supplies, food, water and all of the basic essentials.

On Wednesday, there was another earthquake in Haiti measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, but that still hasn't stopped John Hanson and his wife.

They have lived in Haiti for decades, but they know now they're needed more than ever. For International Missions Outreach, helping Haiti has been a mission for 35 years.

"We're in survival mode right now; we've shut down all operations," Hanson said.

The group is based out of Clendenin in Kanawha County. The Hansons were going about their mission work when the earthquake struck.

"It threw us out of our chairs, he said. "Furniture and stuff was passing by us, and we were going from side to side and the building was not only swaying from side to side but the fact that it was vibrating -- you couldn't stand on the floor. It was just throwing you everywhere."

Now his mission is throwing their support everywhere they can.

"We're trying our best to keep ourselves afloat and to get the necessities we need so we can go ahead and keep reaching out and helping them," said Faithe Claxton, director for U.S. operations.

So far, IMO has given $50,000 in financial aid to help those in need.

"At night time they will block the streets off so cars can't get through and sleep right out in the middle of the streets," Hanson said. "I'm talking about thousands upon thousands of people are living this way and trying to find food -- anything to eat anywhere that they can."

IMO has 42 churches, 18 schools and -- on any given day -- will feed 7,000 people.

"It's overwhelming to see the need around you and know that you've been there so long that everything you have that you have built, has damage and set you back years," Claxton said.

"The feeling I think on the street, when you drive down the street is that look in their eyes of just hopelessness," Hanson said, "there's no hope in their eyes."

There are only eyes of despair as people struggle just to stay alive. Hanson said people's faith has made them thankful to be alive and for the outpouring of support from people throughout the world.

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