World Renew is responding to extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew, which made a direct hit on the southwest corner Haiti on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. World Renew staff on the ground in Leogane and Duchity are assessing the needs of those who were affected and are determining how resources can best be used to provide emergency aid to those who need it most – even as Matthew heads for the U.S. East Coast today.

Authorities report that more than 350,000 Haitians are in need after the storm, with people in coastal areas swamped by waist- to shoulder-high water: the spread of cholera, the Zika virus, and Dengue fever are health concerns for the days ahead. Less than half of Haiti’s population had access to clean drinking water before the hurricane – now that percentage is expected to be much less.

The most immediate challenges are

  • lack of food and clean water

  • mattresses and blankets

  • hygiene items

  • medical care

  • repairs to damaged shelters and schools

  • gaining accessibility and clearing roads

  • repairing electrical damage

  • psychosocial support

World Renew is working with international partner, Integral Alliance, and local partners Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), Back To God Ministries International (BTGMI), and Sous Espwa in Haiti to begin to help communities with food, water, and shelter in the short term, and then continue with transitional projects that will help community members work their way into long-term development programs down the road.

Many communities in areas most affected by Hurricane Matthew are among the remote villages where World Renew has been working in disaster response and livelihood rehabilitation since a catastrophic earthquake devastated Port au Prince in 2010.

World Renew has been working in southwest Haiti in the last year to transition back to long-term development work in this area after finishing up a 5-year, $17 million response to the earthquake which killed nearly a quarter million people. Jean Louis is one of the 2,000 farmers from Leogane that World Renew works with to develop sustainable leadership and technical capacity in the community.

Jean Louis’s uncle is a local agricultural technician in their community. He represents the village in the area’s famers cooperative and is a veterinary agent trained by World Renew’s field agronomists. Jean Louis learned from his uncle, and when a neighbor brought a sick pig for care, Jean Louis offered to help.

Jean Louis treated the pig for several days. After a week, the owner realized that the pig was cured. When the pig later gave birth to ten healthy piglets, he brought one of them to Jean Louis as a gift and payment for his help. Jean Louis and his uncle are two of World Renew’s trained community leaders who advise farmers and supervise farms, distribute seeds, perform gap analyses, facilitate discussions and new initiatives – and care for animals.

Hurricane Matthew has devastated the lives of many in this community, including local leaders like Jean Louis and the farmers that World Renew has been working with in Leogane. Their homes have been severely damaged, crops destroyed and their livestock killed. The full extent of the damage from Hurricane Matthew in Leogane and Duchity has not yet been assessed, but early indicators from World Renew staff and partners are that housing and agricultural losses in the areas where we are working are extensive.

Since Tuesday, Matthew has impacted Cuba and the Bahamas, and is headed for the U.S. East Coast. World Renew’s disaster response teams – both international and domestic – request your fervent prayers and financial support for those who have been and may be affected by Matthew this week.

Haitians are just beginning to live with the new reality that this storm has brought. The extensive destruction of homes and crops, and the loss of livestock leave thousands of Haitians more vulnerable than before. Your donations are urgently needed to support those that are hardest hit.

Will you give generously to help people like Jean Louis?

Through your support, World Renew will be able to provide food to those who have none, water to those who are thirsty, and shelter to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed. As the scale of the need becomes more apparent, more information will be shared through social media and World Renew’s website.

Please donate today to World Renew’s Hurricane Matthew response in Haiti, and keep the people of Haiti, the Caribbean, and the East Coast of the United States in your prayers.

*Photos by Tim Schandorff, MAF International; St. Boniface Haiti Foundation