Haiti tragedy hits close to home

If you read our December story about the Juntunen family of Scottsdale, you are following the news from Haiti with special concern.

I got an email this morning from Sue Breding, who wrote our story about Craig and Kathi Juntunen, who adopted three children from Haiti. The couple’s ties to the island remain strong and their support (financial and otherwise) for the orphanage Crèche de l’Enfant has become a lifetime commitment.

Sue got an update from the Juntunens yesterday that I wanted to share with all of you:

“Due to the recent developments with the earthquake in Haiti today we wanted to update you on what we know. First of all, thanks to all of you for your thoughts and concerns during this tragedy — the number of people who have reached out to us is overwhelming and we are very grateful for the compassionate support of the extended Chances for Children family.

“When events like this occur in highly developed countries, early on there are many inaccuracies in the reporting, and with the lack of significant infrastructure in Haiti, we can not rely on 100 percent of what is currently being reported. What we do know and can report is that all of the staff and all of the children are safe and uninjured from the quake and aftershocks…the transit house ( which is in downtown Port au Prince ) has experienced some significant structural damage. The creche (our main building in Lamardelle ) also had damage but to a lesser extent. We wanted to release this preliminary information to our network of families and supporters as soon as we could confirm the information.

“While we are grateful that our operation, our children and our partners at FEJ have survived this massive quake – we are truly saddened by what this means for Haiti. This has been a devastating day for the people in Haiti. Many, many wonderful people will now be dealing with yet another catastrophe that will make day to day life in Haiti nearly impossible.

“If what is being reported is halfway accurate it is very difficult to imagine how this region is going to cope with the devastation. After the dust settles (literally), we will get back to you with an update and a ‘how we can help’ guidleline of potential activities . Please put the people of Haiti in your prayers…they already have plenty of challenges in their daily life………they did not need or deserve another sucker punch, which is exactly what they got today.”

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