Weather Forecast


Haiti orphanage started by Willmar couple not damaged in quake

WILLMAR -- The earthquake that struck Haiti caused no injuries or damage at an orphanage on the country's north shore started by a Willmar couple and supported by families and churches in the west central area.

Word was received Tuesday that everyone was unharmed at the Children of the Promise orphanage located in Cap Haïtien, said Bud Bonnema, who was reached at his home today in Willmar. He and his wife, Jan, founded the orphanage nearly 10 years ago, and continue to oversee it and the nonprofit organization they created.

"They certainly felt it,'' said Bonnema of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake's impact at the orphanage.

Bonnema said the Tuesday earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince was strong enough to be felt at the orphanage, but no one there immediately suspected how severe it really was, he said. The orphanage is located 90 miles as the crow flies from the nation's capital, and is separated from it by mountain ranges.

Bonnema said the orphanage is currently caring for 60 children. It has a staff of 60 Haitians and eight U.S. and Canadian helpers on site right now.

The Bonnemas are keeping in contact with the orphanage via e-mail. They have lost phone service to it, but are also managing to get word from people elsewhere in the region.