FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ron Osterbauer, Director of Operations
The GOD'S CHILD Project
GOD’S CHILD Project’s Casa Jackson for Malnourished Infants Flee Floodwaters
(June 3, 2014) Flooding from heavy rains have forced the Bismarck-based GOD’S CHILD Project to evacuate Casa Jackson for Malnourished Infants hospital, in Antigua, Guatemala. Classes are also canceled at the Project’s main Guatemalan campus, the Dreamer Center, so that staff and volunteers can move babies, children, cribs, medicines, and food to a temporary hospital being constructed by Project volunteers behind the Dreamer Center.
Over 8 inches of rain fell within minutes, and several more over the course of the last couple days, filling the streets of Antigua and the surrounding villages. Municipal water mains broke, and the entire first floor of Casa Jackson, which houses the malnutrition center’s kitchens, offices, doctor’s office, and laundry facilities is filled with contaminated water. When city water mains began to back up into Casa Jackson, Project executive director Patrick Atkinson ordered the water mains connecting the hospital to the municipal pipes to be severed and sealed, and electrical power shut off.
The water damage to Casa Jackson is extensive and it is not known if or when the babies will be able to return. The facility as it is now is uninhabitable and there is contamination. The children-in-residence at Casa Jackson have weakened immune systems and are extremely vulnerable to airborne and other pollutants. A new building may be our only option at this time.
Casa Jackson was founded by Atkinson in 2006 and is GOD'S CHILD Project's safe haven and recovery center for severely malnourished infants and children in Guatemala. It has become the regional leader in medical care and recovery for malnourished infants and children. It’s also a favorite of many volunteers and ServiceTeam members. Terri Brandt, a NICU RN from Bismarck, North Dakota has volunteered at Casa Jackson 5 times and said “If it weren’t for Casa Jackson most of those babies would starve to death. The parents don’t have the means to feed the children or the education to recognize a failure to thrive. My heart is just breaking! I want to get on an airplane right now and just do something. It’s a devastating loss. I’m speechless.”
Landslides from heavy rains have killed at least five people and showers are expected to continue throughout the week.
Emergency financial help for the care of the babies at Casa Jackson is greatly needed. You can donate online at www.GCPStore.com or at The GOD’S CHILD Project office at 721 Memorial Highway in Bismarck, ND.