As most of you know, Hurricane Matthew devastated the southern part of Haiti making landfall on October 4th, 2016. It was the first category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Haiti since Hurricane Cleo in 1964.
The category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds killed over 900 Haitians and destroyed 90% of some areas in the south of Haiti.
(picture courtesy of NBC news)
The compound Loving Haiti supports is located in Pignon, Haiti and due to its central location, it was physically unaffected by the storm.
Hurricane Matthew hit just six years after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in 2010 which killed more than 200,000 Haitians.
Being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been trying to recover from the effects of the 2010 earthquake, cholera outbreaks and the Zika virus. Now in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Haiti is once again on a long road to recovery. Here is a response on NPR from Dr. Paul Farmer (co-founder of Partners In Health) when asked, “What surprised you about the impact of the hurricane?”
“It’s easy to predict [that if] a Category 4 storm sits on Haiti, there’s going to be massive damage. But it seemed to me that we were unprepared for the gravity of it.
After the quake, it was larger concrete buildings that collapsed. Poor people’s houses were too small to fail. [With the hurricane,] first the roofs were ripped off, and then the trees came down. And what happens when people get hit by flying debris and haven’t had a tetanus shot and don’t have access to primary care? And what’s going to happen with cholera? Cholera treatment centers got blown away because they were built so shoddily.”
Click here for the full interview.
In addition to Dr. Paul Farmer’s response, here is an excerpt from an NPR interview between Scott Simon and Dr. Joanna Cherry, the chief medical officer of Hospital Bernard Mevs’ Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince.
“SIMON: What are conditions like in the South, near as you can tell?
CHERRY: So our team have done extensive reviews of the South. We can tell you that when our teams arrived, they compared the area to that of a bomb blast. There’s no leaves left on any trees. There’s very little foliage still standing. There’s no shade in any areas. Multiple houses had their roofs taken off during the storm. In the last two weeks, there has been some work on trying to get houses covered again. Unfortunately, in the last 48 hours, we’ve had some pretty severe weather in the area, so some of the efforts have been somewhat reversed by flooding and by just poor conditions.
SIMON: And this increases the risk of, say, tetanus and cholera?
CHERRY: Absolutely. And one of our major concerns has always been waterborne disease. So part of the operations that we’ve been involved in has been trying to supply clean water sources to people. When the rains start again, we end up with a massive increase in the waterborne diseases in each area. So this is a real concern for us right now.”
Click here for the full interview.
(picture courtesy of BBC news)
While we are happy to report that our Haitian partners were not physically harmed by the hurricane, everyone in Haiti is somehow touched by the storm. We at Loving Haiti are mourning with the country of Haiti and with the many Haitians who were so terribly affected by the storm.
(Picture courtesy of CNN)
Loving Haiti has received over $7,000 in donations to provide aid and hope directly to those living in the southern region affected by the storm. Francois and two members of Philadelphia Baptist Church of Pignon plan on making several trips to the affected areas and provide aid to their fellow Haitians. As Francois told me, “It’s our responsibility to help. We want to encourage and visit them.” He then quoted a passage from the gospel of Matthew saying, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…” The three men plan to embark on their first relief/aid trip this Tuesday morning (hopefully accompanied by a police officer) bringing supplies, clean water, love and encouragement.
(Picture courtesy of NPR)
With bridges down, continuing rain and water levels high, getting to the areas that need aid might be very difficult. Francois has also heard reports that Haitians have been stopping vehicles that look like they have aid and stealing what they can from them. We are praying for these men as they are the “hands and feet” of love bringing HOPE to the suffering Haitians.
Thank you to everyone who has checked in over the past few weeks and who have donated towards the relief effort. We appreciate you and your partnership with us.