Operation Blessing Helping Forgotten Quake Victims

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Rescue efforts have officially ended in Haiti, and there is now an even greater focus on recovery. But the earthquake's damage stretches so far. It is easy to overlook some people in need.

CBN's Operation Blessing International is reaching out to help some of the people who could easily be forgotten.

Two weeks after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, downtown Port-au-Prince still looks like a war zone. However, the damage to this poor nation and its people stretches far beyond these streets.

In one community, an engineer tours the shell of what used to be the grand two-story home he spent ten years building for his family. His family now sleeps outside, while he makes his bed in a make-shift tent behind his pick-up truck.

One home behind a gate is now just a pile of rubble and those in the neighborhood who had little, now have nothing.

"There are victims here," said Eric Lotz, Haiti's national director for Operation Blessing. "There are people that have died in this neighborhood. Houses have collapsed here."

The area known as Taba did see significant damage. But since it was not one of the hardest hit areas, it could be easily forgotten.

There is a long line of people outside the neighborhood school, because one relief organization remembered the people who live here. Operation Blessing workers are distributing boxes of food.

"We can't rebuild everyone's house in Port-au-Prince, but we can chip away at the hunger," Lotz said.

Chipping away at Haiti's hunger is not a small task. Lotz began leading Operation Blessing's mission in the island nation long before the earthquake happened. And there is always more people than food supplies.

"For the people of Haiti, food for them is just like Jaguar or a Ferari," said Costals Edmund, a school principal.

It is a luxury that many are not sure if they are going to find enough each day. Jean Patrick, 40, leaves the OB distribution site with a box to share with his family of five.

"It gives me hope for my family," Patrick said. "My mother died in the house in the earthquake. My family is sleeping outside. This gives me hope and I hope Operation Blessing can do it again."

Operation Blessing will do it again. Workers quickly load trucks with more supplies as fast as they can in order to get them in to the hands of people.

"The people here have nothing," Lotz said. "A lot of them lost their houses. Many lost everything they have."

And this struggling neighborhood is more than just another drop-off for Lotz. It is his home. The husband and father of five moved here six days before the earthquake struck. He and his family can no longer stay in the house.

"It's got too many cracks and fractures that have us worried," Lotz said.

However, it is a worry for another day. Right now, it is about serving people with even greater need.

*Originally published January 27, 2010.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.