Hurricane Matthew has whipped through Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, many other islands, and the East Coast of the US leaving destruction in it’s wake. While many countries have the resources needed to respond and rebuild, Haiti is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake. In the US, we were able to board up homes, churches, and other buildings, then evacuate. When you are an island nation, you don’t have these opportunities. Different parts of Haiti were affected in different ways. Some areas suffer from lost roofs, damaged farms, and destroyed bridges while other areas are completely decimated.
With that said, here is what we know so far:
- Hurricane Matthew was a Category 4 hurricane that went through the entire country of Haiti, yet the eye devastated the SW especially with 145 mph winds and an estimated 15-20 inches of rain.
- The US military, UN, Heart to Heart, and other organizations are working on bringing food, clean water, and medical help to those affected by the hurricane.
- There is currently an interim president in place (and his legal time as interim president already expired) with a presidential election (actually a do-over from last year) that was scheduled for Sunday is now postponed due to the devastation.
- Resurrection is working with Heart to Heart International by donating money for hygiene kits to go to those affected by the storm. There are already kits being handed out in Haiti with more on the way.
- 3000 hygiene kits were assembled by 116 Resurrection members this past Saturday. Hygiene kits are being handed out in hopes to prevent disease.
- Subsequent diseases from the flooding is a huge concern. Cholera (60 cases reported so far – this number doubled on Sunday alone), Zika, Malaria, and others (including preventable diseases such as diarreah) are all strong possibilities to strike the country next.
- Heart to Heart is working with the EMH (Methodist Church of Haiti) on health clinics in Petit Goave as well as Jeremie. The EMH leaders are making it possible for Haitian and non-Haitian medical teams to serve around the country.
- Wes, who works for Heart to Heart and Resurrection, is headed to Jeremie to prepare for a medical team that will arrive mid-week. A typical drive from Port-au-Prince to Jeremie is 8 hours. Due to the damaged infrastructure, they are anticipating a 16 hour drive.
- The CHE’s (local Haitian volunteer community health workers) have been working in the health clinic in Petit Goave as well as going out into their communities to assess damage. They will be distributing hygiene kits as well in the coming days.
- Resurrection is working with the CHE’s and ReVolt (prior to the hurricane) to help families get solar kits that include phone chargers and radios. Both of these items are much needed when disasters strike – the radio to warn people of impending weather, and the phone charger to alert families around the country that they are safe (or what is needed if not). Joy in Serving this Christmas will give you the opportunity to buy a deposit on one of these kits so that families can then pay an affordable the monthly fee to pay it off.
- Many of our partners in Haiti haven’t heard from family members in Jeremie and other cities in the SW. With no electricity, there is no way to reach them.
- Brakeman School, the medical clinic, and local church are all undamaged from the storm.
- Crops, fruit trees, and many other sources of food have been destroyed. (It’s being reported that 90% of crops are destroyed in the hardest hit areas.)
- Many water sources have been contaminated by the flooding.
- Currently 1.5 million Haitians have been affected and over 1000 deaths are reported.
As we find out more information from our partners in the EMH as well as from Heart to Heart, and how Resurrection continues to respond, we will update the blog, Facebook, Haiti newsletters, and other social media. If you would like to sign up for a trip, please go to www.cor.org/haiti and sign up as soon as possible.