HURRICANE MATTHEW RELIEF & RECOVERY
Hurricane Matthew was the largest storm to hit Haiti in over 50 years, and the devastation it wrought on the island was swift and thorough. The damage to buildings, bridges, and roadways and the disruption to livelihoods will linger for months, if not years, to come. The worst of the crisis still lies ahead.
What is most concerning is the contamination of the water supply and the near complete destruction of the island’s agriculture. Farmers lost gardens, coffee plants, and avocado and banana trees. The harvest that should be occurring this month is gone, and because of the upcoming dry season, it will take a full year to get to another harvest. Farmers that were relying on their crops this year to provide sustenance as well as income are wiped out. Haiti is now at risk for extreme food scarcity and cholera over the next few months.
As you can see, the long-term issues this hurricane may create are greater than most people realize. Our leaders see it and they are working to respond, but they will need significant financial resources. We realize that we are a smaller organization with limited resources, but we want to do our part and do it well. We will focus first on taking care of the children and families in the communities in which we work — “our people” — and then we will do our best to empower our leaders to serve on a larger scale as well.
Help One Now will be taking a three-step approach – short-term RELIEF, a RECOVERY period in the mid-term, and continuing to foster long-term DEVELOPMENT to strengthen infrastructure and do everything possible to prevent such damages from happening in the future.
In partnership with our trusted indigenous leaders, over the next 30 days we want to give quick and immediate relief by providing:
Food — 120,000 meals — $60,000
Water — clean water for 1,000 people — $15,000
While it is still available, our local leaders will be purchasing food from other regions of Haiti. This will help keep the Haitian economy moving in the midst of this crisis.
In partnership with our trusted indigenous leaders, we want to provide:
- $10,000 to care for 12 children from Pestel that we have rescued and brought to live at Yahve Shamma for 12 months
- $10,000 for additional home, church, and business repair
- $30,000 for ongoing food support, as we prepare to provide up to 15,000 meals every month for the next year
- $50,000 to resource 500 children with books, papers, notebooks, uniforms, backpacks, and other learning supplies to replace what was lost to the hurricane
It may seem strange to focus on school supplies in a survival situation, but often it’s the things that bring us dignity and hope that help us survive the impossible. Our local leaders believe that getting children back into school will accelerate both the children and their families down the road to recovery.
This is what we do; it is what Help One Now and our leaders are passionate about. The more community development we have, the less devastating these natural disasters will be. We will continue to invest in education, job creation, healthcare, and spiritual development with all of our leaders. These are the things that will empower Haitians to thrive in the future!
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, we want to invest deeply in agriculture and education. As mentioned earlier, we will be working on a plan with one of our leaders to empower farmers, and we know that an increased investment in education and leadership training will have an immeasurable payoff.
Agricultural Empowerment — $50,000
Education and Training — $50,000
UPDATE (05/05/17, 8:30AM EST)
UPDATE (10/05/16, 5:30PM EST)
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!
UPDATE (10/04/2016, 5:30PM EST)
Here’s an update on our leaders and communities:
- Jean St Cyr, one of our leaders in the Port Au Prince area, is actually stranded in Florida right now. He was on his way home to Haiti when the storm hit and planes were grounded. His wife is safe at their home in Delmas, Haiti.
- HON local leader Gaétan Alcégaire is just outside of Pestel on the the southern peninsula–one of the areas that is hardest hit. Because of the severity of the storm in that area, we have not heard and updates from Gaétan today. We believe he and the kids in his care in Pestel are safe, but cell service is down. Madame Alcégaire and Gaétan’s brother, Nadal, are with the Yahve Shamma children who are safe in Port Au Prince.
- Rosena and the children of Ferrier Village are safe in Ferrier. The storm has mostly spared the northeast of Haiti.
- Jean Alix Paul, one of our key leaders throughout Haiti, is in Kenscoff (in the mountains just southeast of Port Au Prince) and he informed us at 2pm EDT today that the storm “is worse now than it has been all day.” He said it is unsafe to leave shelter right now and probably will be so until late tonight or early tomorrow. That said, it will be difficult to assess the damage in the communities we serve until tomorrow (Wednesday) night at the earliest.
Here’s what we do know, according to our leaders:
- The damage in the south is mostly unknown as of now, but expected to be catastrophic.
- Port-au-Prince is beginning to flood.
- The damage in the Kenscoff area is greater than expected.
- The community of Drouin, where we have a school, is completely flooded.
- Many of the mountain villages have had more damage than expected.
- Most crops, farms, and gardens have been destroyed by high winds and heavy rain, meaning food sources will be limited.
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:
- Food — Emergency food and long-term food. With much of the farms destroyed, food may be an issue for quite some time.
- Water — Access to clean water will be important. For medical purposes, drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
- Structural Repairs — Many roofs have been damaged and homes and other structures destroyed. There are Haitians that can help replace all of these, our job will be to provide the resources for materials.
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