Update April, 2010
In addition to meeting with Fr. Nexcene and the local health workers, members of the group were able to examine the buildings in the church area and walk throughout the country side to see the individual homes. A survey had been done in the area and it reported that 636 homes were crushed and an additional 480 were damaged. Nearly one of every three homes in the area was affected and approximately 2000 people there are now homeless.
Fr. Nexcene received some tents from Caritas (internationally associated with Catholic Relief Services). Some of these were being used for the school, the remainder had been distributed
to individual families. Although some people have been able to find temporary shelter under tents, most of these tents will not be able to withstand the wind and rain of hurricane season. Many of the tents do not have floors, so when it rains, the ground turns to mud. Additionally, inside the tents is very hot during the day.
Although the school is still standing, a structural engineer has only cleared three of the rooms for use. School resumed at the beginning of March, with most of the classes being held in tents in the school yard. When school resumed, they were also able to resume the food program, which gives the school children one meal a day.
The church will need major repairs before it will again be useable. Currently Mass is being held under tarps in the school yard. Fr. Nexcene reports that despite the lack of a church building, the faithful are still gathering to worship. Over 2000 people participated in their Stations of the Cross during Holy Week and 1000 people participated in a 3 day retreat at the beginning of Holy Week.