Large demonstrations have paralyzed much of Haiti. Street protests, civil unrest and shortages of food, water, and fuel have led both the United States and Canada to issue statements advising that their citizens avoid travel to the country.
As Christian Reformed Church in North America staff in Haiti monitor the situation, some are also choosing to temporarily leave the country.
The CRCNA has several staff members based in Haiti. This includes personnel working for Resonate Global Mission, World Renew, and Back to God Ministries International. All of these staff members report that they and their families are safe, however most have experienced significant disruption to their work and many days spent at home.
It is anticipated that if the situation deteriorates, shortages of fuel could force the island nation’s airports to close. Out of an abundance of caution and for their families’ well-being, some CRCNA personnel have opted to return to North America before this happens. The CRCNA has also canceled all volunteer travel to Haiti.
"At this time, staff members are monitoring the situation in-country," stated Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, Canadian director of World Renew. "Home office staff have cancelled their travel plans to Haiti, and volunteer groups have postponed their trips due to security challenges. We'll continue to be on alert until the situation changes, praying it will improve soon."
The crisis began almost a year ago. Originally related to fuel subsidies, these protests have have restarted and broadened in scope. Both the US and Canadian governments have issued travel warnings. The US has evacuated all non-essential staff already and the Canadian embassy in Haiti has been closed since Wednesday, February 13.
CRCNA missionaries in Haiti report that normal life has been interrupted amid tension and frustration. The country is essentially on lockdown. While CRCNA personnel had the resources to prepare and stock up needed supplies, they are surrounded with friends and neighbors who did not have that option. They see these families now struggling as they attempt to go out for each day’s necessities.
“Those who live on day-to-day supplies have really been affected,” said one Resonate missionary. “We know a lot of Haitian families are struggling to find rice and other staples.”
As the CRCNA continues to monitor this crisis and stay in continual communication with staff and partners, they ask you to pray for peace. Pray for governmental leaders as they seek solutions. Pray for our staff and ministry partners still in Haiti—that they would be safe and have access to the resources they need.
Resonate director Zachary King, who served in Haiti with his family for 12 years prior to leading Resonate, is part of the CRCNA’s Crisis Monitoring Team for Haiti. “My heart breaks for the vast majority of Haitians who long for peace and stability in their country,” he said.
“While some of our staff are departing the country, we remain fully committed to the Haitian churches and ministries with which we partner. Please join with us in praying that God will bring peace to this country and ministry there can resume.”