Hurricane Devastates Haiti

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On Oct. 4, the strongest hurricane in nearly a decade hit the island nation of Haiti, killing more than 900 people, destroying homes and crops, and leaving a flooded ruin in its wake.

The Category 4 hurricane made landfall near the southwestern town of Les Anglais, then moved north through seven departments in Haiti before cutting through eastern Cuba, the Bahamas, and pummeling the southeastern coast of the United States with high winds and torrential rain.

“The communities in Haiti most affected by Hurricane Matthew are rural and difficult to access,” said Karen Bokma, communications coordinator with Presbyterian World Service & Development.

“People lost crops and livelihoods and, with that, the ability to feed themselves. Emergency assistance to avert the risk of famine and disease is desperately needed.”

PWS&D contributed an initial $50,000 to the emergency response by ACT Alliance, a coalition of 143 churches and church-related organizations with partners in the country.

Initial priorities include providing food, water, shelter, and basic sanitation. With widespread flooding, aid workers fear the possibility of a cholera outbreak.

According to ACT Alliance, in some departments an estimated 75 per cent of the population is in need of aid.

The destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew is especially difficult for Haiti, a country still rebuilding from the 2010 earthquake that killed over 100,000 people and caused major damage to the city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

PWS&D is calling for financial support and prayers for its partners in the region. Donations can be made online or sent to PWS&D marked “Hurricane Matthew.”

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About Connie Wardle

Connie Wardle is the Presbyterian Record's senior writer and online editor.