Devastation in Haiti, a First-Hand Account


salvationarmy_haiti_2Words cannot begin to describe the devastation that has taken place in Port au Prince, Haiti.

I am the Director of Disaster Services for The Salvation Army in Haiti, and I am from the United States. My wife and I have been in Port au Prince since April, and have fallen deeply in love with the country and its people.

When the earthquake struck, I was driving down the mountain from Petionville. Our truck was being tossed to and fro like a toy, and when it stopped, I looked out the windows to see buildings “pancaking” down, like I have never witnessed before. Traffic, of course, came to a stand-still, while thousands of people poured out into the streets, crying, carrying bloody bodies, looking for anyone who could help them. We piled as many bodies into the back of our truck, and took them down the hill with us, hoping to find medical attention. All of them were older, scared, bleeding, and terrified. It took about 2 hours to go less than 1 mile. Traffic was horrible, devastation was everywhere, and suffering humanity was front and center.

When we could drive no further, we left the truck parked on the side of the street, and walked the remaining 2 miles to get back to the Army compound. What I found was very sad! All of the security walls were down. The Children’s Home itself seems pretty intact, but our quarters, which is attached, are destroyed. Unliveable. The walls and ceiling are still standing – but so badly compromised that I wouldn’t even think of trying to stay there. All of the children, and hundreds of neighbors, are sleeping in our playground area tonight. Occasionally, there is another tremor – another reminder that we are not yet finished with this calamity. And when it comes, all of the people cry out and the children are terrified.

As I am sitting outside now, with most people trying to get a little sleep, I can hear the moans and crys of the neighbors. One of our staff went to a home in the neighborhood, to try to be of assistance to the woman who lived there. But she was too late.
The scene will be repeated over and over again. Tomorrow, we will begin the process of assessing damage, learning about casualties, and preparing for the future.

God bless Haiti.

Bob Poff
Divisional Director of Disaster Services in Haiti
The Salvation Army


The Salvation Army is rapidly mobilizing and responding to the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti yesterday. To better understand the tragedy this country is facing, please take a moment to read the letter at the end of this post from Bob Poff, the Salvation Army’s Divisional Director of Disaster Services in Haiti, regarding his account when the earthquake hit.

With many people missing, injured, or killed, and much of Haiti’s infrastructure damaged, the Salvation Army needs your help to provide much needed aid.

The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations to assist in the effort via:
Online Donations
• 1-800-SAL-ARMY

In order to keep you updated regarding the situation in Haiti and The Salvation Army’s aid efforts, we will update regularly as new information comes in.



Christopher Smith

I am willing to immediately volunteer to go to Haiti to help. I am an engineer. I have heavy machinery operating experience and construction experience of all kinds.

Christopher Smith


I am very saddened by these events. I am praying for the people of Haiti and those are heading there to help. I just wanted to let them know that I am praying for them .

nel peach

we will drop off a donation to our local Salvation Army office, Friday Jan 15 …we are saddened and everyone in Haiti is in our thoughts.

Carmine DeFalco

I was a 9-11 Worker on the recovery of AT%T LNS network recovery at the WTC/ Ground Zero. I can tell you personally, the Salvation Army was one of the only Charities that spent endless time at the site. I met many of the SA workers who volunteered their personal Vacation time from their Families from all over our country, to hand out masks, water and food. I am a believer in the Salvation Army. I am availible to also volunteer to help in Haiti. The Salvation Army does the lords work. Please donate with your heart.

Lew & Jan

We are praying for Haiti, for all the aid workers and the people of Haiti. God loves you all.

Denna Newman

Our Corps along with many others in our community, we have been praying for Haiti and all involved, those who have been directly tramatized, those who are desperately looking for loved one, those who are calling out to be reached, and those who are offering hands-on help like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross,the Doctors without borders and so many more organizations. My heart has been burdened so much and I strongly feel God’s calling to be there in the midst to help first-hand. If you are looking to send a volunteer team to Haiti I would seriously consider being a member. Please give in faith & pray without ceasing.

Director of Programs

Sylvia Patey

I am deeply saddened by the suffering in Haiti. A soldier in God’s great army and a nurse and Midwife, I am ready to answer God’s call to become a member of a volunteer team, in Haiti, or any other country that I can be of help.
May God Bless and strengthen all those involved in the restoration of Haiti.


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