Vero Beach volunteers in Haiti safe in Port-au-Prince after earthquake

HAITI — The co-director of Haiti Partners and family are reported safe in Port-au-Prince, near the epicenter of the earthquake that struck the island nation around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

John Engle, his Haiti-born wife Merline, and their two pre-school age children were not harmed, according to Kent Annan, his counterpart in Vero Beach.

Annan, who began working in Haiti in 2003 and lived there for more than two years, said efforts are underway to determine how its partner schools, churches and community groups have been affected, and how Haiti Partners can best help. The group has established a fund to aid in that effort, and is taking donations through its Web site,

Engle is on the Missions Board of the Community Church in Vero Beach. Co-founder of Beyond Borders, of which Haiti Partners is an offshoot, he moved to Vero Beach in 2007 to set up a U.S. based office but recently returned to Haiti with his family. works to educate Haitians and create community leaders who then help other Haitians. The organization helps educate 600 children in four partner schools, train 300 teachers, train 40 community leaders, and provide Bibles and training to 10,000 people in churches and literacy centers.

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed most of the nation’s capital city, impacting an estimated 3 million residents, according to world news media outlets.

Thousands are feared dead in Haiti, according to what the country’s prime minister has told media outlets.

The Salvation Army is mobilizing resources and personnel to assist with the international relief effort in Haiti following a severe earthquake Tuesday that damaged much of the country’s infrastructure, housing and commercial buildings.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti at this time and especially our Salvation Army officers and employees throughout the country,” said John Corapi, of the Indian River County Salvation Army.

At this time The Salvation Army is attempting to contact its workers in Haiti to ensure their safety and begin an assessment of immediate needs. As a close partner of the Haiti Salvation Army, The Army’s USA Southern Territory and Florida Division is ready to provide assistance in support of relief and recovery efforts undertaken by The Salvation in Haiti.

“We have received word from The Salvation Army hospital in Fond-des-Negres (75 miles west of Port-au-Prince) they have some minor damage, but no injuries,” Corapi said.

Some of the Salvation Army buildings in Port-au-Prince have collapsed. The organization has two schools with more than 1,500 students in the country. One of the schools was in session at the time of the earthquake.

How much damage was done to the school was not immediately known.

The American Red Cross has pledged an initial $200,000 in financial aid to Haiti communities and is preparing to send supplies from its Panama warehouse. Such supplies include mosquito netting and cooking and kitchen sets.

Officials from the American Red Cross are coordinating relief efforts with the Haiti Red Cross and has sent a disaster management specialist to the country.

How to Help: is accepting earthquake relief donations through its Web site HERE

The Salvation Army of IRC is located in Vero Beach at 2655 5th St. SW across from The Skate Factory.  For more info on how to help call The Salvation Army of IRC at (772) 978-0265 or

The American Red Cross accepts donations to its American Red Cross International Response Fund, which can be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at


Vero Beach 32963 Associate Editor Michelle Genz contributed to this report.

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