Hurricane Matthew Slams Haiti
It was an unwelcome visit to an unprepared country.
Hurricane Matthew arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, October 4th as a Category 4 hurricane. As a SoCal girl, I had no idea what that meant. But I knew Haiti was in trouble and braced for the worst.
Haiti is a country with very weak infrastructure. Many people still live in tents cities since the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. And most people in rural Haiti live in simple homes put together with cheap materials such as mud, woven tree leaves, and plastic tarps. These homes can barely survive a heavy rain storm, let alone a hurricane with 125mph winds. The CNN report on Oct 8th offers a small glimpse of what the rescue teams must face now, “The death toll is rising on an hourly basis as aid workers and authorities get into these really hard hit regions where not only communication and power were knocked out, but the roads were knocked out, so there has really been no way in.” Some have reported over 1000 deaths, and over 60,000 displaced, but no one will know the actual numbers. Haiti is known for its mountains beyond mountains. Many live in unknown villages, that have never been accounted for in the first place. These are the people who live in mud houses, who have now lost everything and government/international aid will most likely never reach them.
How about our village, Fond Doux? Thanks to our children’s home, in preparation for the hurricane, we were able to shelter a few families who had fragile homes. But once the storm has passed, the devastating news and photos started trickling in. Many of the children, including those in our scholarship program, and their families have lost their homes. They were either washed away or crushed by fallen trees. Many years of crops are lost, farm animals swept away, the village flooded. It reminds me of the childhood fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs, where the big bad wolf blows away the first two homes made out of straw and sticks. Just like the wolf in the story, the storms of life come to test our foundations and what we are made of. Hopefully, a life lesson learned by many.
My heart especially hurt for Tata, a single mother of two. She has become a more empowered woman through the trade business we helped her launch. She has spent years trying to build her own home for her family, buying material when she had the money. I remember visiting her “new home” of mud walls and tin roof for the first time and being so proud of her. Even her little daughter, Alicia, was so proud of the new home that she pulled me in to show me exactly where she slept. And now, all that is standing is the blue front door. They even lost their financial investment, a goat. This is only one of many personal stories of lives disrupted or destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
In a few days, the news will move on and most people will forget that this ever happened. But the Haitian people must continue to face their new reality and begin to rebuild once again. During times like this, many see the devastation and are moved to help in small or big ways. But many express concerns about giving to large NGOs and not knowing where their money goes or if their money will ever make it into the hands of the ones who need it the most. And that might be you, looking for direct ways to help those affected. Here is your opportunity to send relief, help families rebuild, and be a light during this dark time.
Currently, our Haiti hurricane relief will include:
- Repairing and rebuilding homes for displaced families
- Providing clean water and food
- Supplying clothes, medicine and many daily essentials
- Other needs may arise
Affected families: (Updated on 10/9/16)
- Love & Alicia (Family of 3)
- Jorking & Jameson (Family of 7)
- Willy, Wilheme, Wilson, Nadia, Lia, Inel, Jackson (Family of 8)
- Frantzy Simeon, Sadrack, Seneque Family
- Blak & Ministre (Family of 5)
- Samson Family
Join us in our Haiti Hurricane Relief to help these individual families rebuild their lives during this difficult time.