Local ‘Emmanuel Haiti’ ministry recalls devastation left behind by earthquake

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The death toll from the Haiti earthquake continues to rise, with at least 300 people confirmed dead and nearly 1,800 hurt so far. 

According to government officials, death tolls are expected to rise as the country continues its recovery efforts.  

Mary Phil Illges is the Director of Emmanuel Haiti, a ministry of Mount Carmel Baptist Church. The ministry has built and operates schools, churches, clinics, and orphanages in Haiti.  

“The medical center is overwhelmed at this point. The hospital was flattened, the hospital in Jérémie is overwhelmed as is our medical clinics,” Illges said. “Se kept hearing all day about different groups, whether they are okay.” 

Illges said so far, everyone she’s spoken with from the ministry has survived. She vouches for Haitian’s strong spirit and faith after dealing with repeated destruction and natural disasters. 

“We have a bakery in downtown Jérémie where some of our transition home boys work and live and I didn’t hear from them for quite a while, and we were really concerned because we saw all the photos of the devastation in downtown Jérémie where the buildings are concrete, and they are more likely to collapse,” Illges said Saturday evening. “We did finally hear that they were okay, and we were super relieved about that.”

For anyone wanting to help with recovery efforts, Illges recommends donating to a group that works directly with people on the ground in Haiti. For more information or to donate to Emmanuel Haiti, click here.

The massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake has sparked comparisons to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed an estimated 300,000 people. 

Now tropical storm Grace is racing toward the island, potentially complicating rescue efforts. 

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