Thankfully, Hurricane Matthew has now moved past Haiti; however, we all need to keep the people of Cuba, the Bahamas, and the east coast of the US in our prayers. This is a powerful hurricane.
It is now confirmed that Matthew is the worst storm to hit Haiti since 1966. It will still take some time to fully assess the damage and even the loss of life. At this point, we know that tens of thousands, and likely hundreds of thousands, have been displaced, as many Haitians live in make-shift homes that cannot stand up to hurricane force winds. As mentioned in the last update, food, water and shelter will be urgent and immediate needs.
Our leaders are out in their communities today working hard to assess the situation. We want to be ready to help in the short-term and in the long-term. Right now, we know that many families in the communities in which we work have sustained significant damage to their homes, and many homes, schools and churches have lost their roof. Some of our schools and churches are serving as temporary shelters, and Jean Alix Paul and his people have already begun using all the resources they have to provide food, water and shelter to many people.
Due to widespread flooding, it’s not currently possible to get out to our school in Drouin to assess the damages, but we know that the situation there will require our help. We want to remind you all that Haiti remains in the middle of what is one of the world’s most devastating cholera epidemics, which began in the Drouin area. Widespread flooding will only increase the risk of contracting this dangerous disease.
1. The children of Yahve Shamma are safe and sound!
2. The children of Ferrier Village are safe and sound!
3. Dozens of homes that we helped build after the earthquake are still standing, and Williamson Adrien Academy — the giant school that we built back in 2013 — stood up to the hurricane like a boss!
4. As far as we know, all of our people in Ferrier, Drouin, Guibert and Port au Prince are alive and unharmed! All of this good news is really a testament to the strong leadership of our indigenous partners. They prepared their people for the worst, and now they will lead the relief effort to help their communities recover from this catastrophic storm.
We have not yet been able to make contact with Pastor Gaétan Alcégaire. A few days before the storm, he left Yahve Shamma and went out to the village of Deyemon/Pestel, where we are partnering with him to care for orphans and educate children. This village is in the mountains on the southern peninsula of Haiti, the area where the center of the storm hit. This region has been cut off from the rest of Haiti because the main bridge was destroyed and there is no power or cell service. We are trusting that Gaétan and the children are safe, we will continue to do everything we can to reach him, and we will let you know when we do!
1. The number one need in all of this will be money.
We need you to give generously. It’s becoming clear now that the need will be huge, and thankfully, we know that our local leaders are trustworthy, they are on the front lines, they can stretch a dollar farther than we can imagine, and they will use every dollar where it is most needed.
2. Help Us Spread the Word.
Please share this update and help us raise support to aid our amazing leaders. If you’d like to read further, more detailed information about the impact of Hurricane Matthew on the country of Haiti as a whole, The Washington Post has an excellent article here. Please stay tuned for another update and a more detailed relief plan tomorrow.
Here’s Chris Marlow with an update!
Here’s an update on our leaders and communities:
Here’s what we do know, according to our leaders:
We also know that the primary need in the short term will be financial support. Our leaders have good infrastructure in place in their communities. They will be able to mobilize the local community, but they will need resources.While we know this is true, at this point, we do not have a good assessment of what needs to be done in the short-term or long-term to empower our leaders to help their communities.
Here are some things that we know will be needs:
We will be working with our local leaders over the next few days to assess the damage and develop a relief plan for the next few weeks. Then in the coming weeks and months, we will develop a plan to address the long-term effects of this storm. We will continue to update our tribe as we are able to accurately assess the situation.There is a possibility that we will send a response team; however, until our leaders are able to do a thorough assessment of the damage and needs, we will not know how a team could help.
In the meantime, continue to pray for the people of Haiti, and for the people of Cuba and The Bahamas as well. And please follow us for more updates and ways to help in the days to come.
As many of you know, Hurricane Matthew is beginning to hit Haiti. This storm, the strongest to hit the Caribbean in over a decade, will undoubtedly leave its mark on this country. The hurricane winds will primarily pass over the southern peninsula, but heavy rainfall will affect the entire country, likely causing widespread flooding and mudslides.
It’s important to understand that because of severe deforestation, a few hours of heavy rain can cause major flooding in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew could bring 48 hours of heavy rain. We do not want to underestimate the gravity of this storm.
We have been in regular communication with our Haitian leaders in all of our communities to make sure they are doing everything they can to prepare for the storm. We have plans in place to respond based on the needs after the storm.
Many of you have been asking what you can do to help, so here are two keys ways to support our leaders:
2. We know that we will need to respond to immediate needs. If disaster does strike, we want to be ready. You can help us prepare by giving to our relief fund here. Choose “Hurricane Matthew Relief ” from the dropdown menu.
This is when relationship and long-term partnership matters the most. We are so grateful that you are in this with us and with our leaders, children and communities. We will continue to update you all and communicate more specifically as the storm passes through.
The Help One Now team