I spoke with Danelle this morning and she told me that everyone there is okay. She explained that her, Rev. Krey, Rev. Ries, Willy and Joseph (vicars) and Ramon (theology student) were studying in the church building in Santiago when the earthquake hit. Santiago is on the north side of the island in the Dominican. Here is a link to a map
Everyone felt the earthquake and people around the neighborhood were screaming “get out to the streets” and they all left the church building. Fortunately, no buildings were damaged and the shaking was not strong enough to knock pictures off the wall. The shaking lasted for about 3 minutes and then they returned to class. After class was over they tried internet to get news on what happened but internet was done for awhile. Eventually, they got connected and found out what was happening in Haiti. Danelle has been in the DR for about 5 years now and has not felt an earthquake before. There was an earthquake in the Dominican several years ago but it was not as bad as yesterday’s earthquake in Haiti. In the 1940’s there was a magnitude 8 earthquake in the Dominican but not many people are around anymore that can talk about that experience.
Many Dominicans are from Haiti or have family there. Some of the mission church members are from Haiti. Both Willy and Joseph have family in Haiti and they are worried about them and trying to make contact. There is no communication in Haiti and only those with satellite phones in Haiti are able to communicate. And Danelle understands that a hospital collapsed. Right now the missionaries are mostly getting their news off of TV.
Initially, there was a tsunami warning out for the entire coast of the island and in the DR they were beginning to evacuate the whole north and south coastal regions of the DR. However, this involves many tourist areas and the largest population of the Dominican is on the coast with the capitol, Santo Domingo, right on the southern coast. Our vicar, Willy, lives with his wife and two girls in their home in Las Americas which is outside of Santo Domingo and less than a mile from the coast. It was especially frightening that Willy and Joseph were in Santiago at class and separated from their families in Santo Domingo when the quake happened. There is no history of a tsunami in the DR but people still were very aware of the tsunami in Asia and knew what the threat was. The evacuations were simply to keep people safe.
And now you know more of the missionaries’ experience of the earthquake. Please pray for all the people on the island of Hispaniola that they may be able to be reunited with their loved ones wherever they are.