Our program work in Haiti has been signficantly impacted by damage from Hurricane Matthew. While our community in Petit Trou de Nippes suffered relatively little physical damage from the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew passed directly over the region. There was thankfully small loss of life, but the economic burden posed by the physical damage from the hurricane represents an intense threat to the well-being of the people we serve in this region. In the days to come, we will be focusing our efforts on assessing the damage, beginning structural repairs and re-establishing the agriculture and livestock programs. For now, here are some updates from our on-the-ground operations manager, Tate Lowrey, MPH:
Nearly every family has been affected by Hurricane Matthew. 90% of gardens have been destroyed and 70% of livestock was lost.
The community is coming together to take care of each other. People who have no roof stay with neighbors and family. No one is being left on the street with no home or food.
Together, they are evaluating what resources they still have. Despite the damage, life is continuing. Homes have their little market stands out, the Digicel vendor is selling minutes, people are doing laundry and eating together. The local Karfou Lendi market has started running again, although with fewer vendors and less produce.
Patrick Desir, our Program Manager, has been our connection to the greater community of Petit Trou outside of St. Paul's. He is learning what is happening and how people are getting by. After the community assesses their resources, we will work with him to figure out the best way to help the community in both the long and short term.
At St. Paul's many trees have been blown down and half of the guest house roof was torn off. There is one shower still working in the presbytery. The school building appears to be in okay condition and has mostly been cleaned up. We are waiting on a structural engineer to verify safety for the students. In the meantime, school instruction is resuming this week in the church.
The goat structure is still standing however, it has significant damage that St. Paul's Agricultural Educator Kenel Pierre is working to repair. The student garden was destroyed and will need to be rebuilt.
Well technicians Jude and Jean Donald are working on repairing two wells damaged in the hurricane. Patrick has also teamed up with them to ensure that the wells are disinfected.
Petit Trou has sustained significant damage. Seven of the schools in town were damaged and two were destroyed. Sadly, six people were killed. Fortunately the clinic is mostly okay and staff is working again.
Patrick has organized a survey to visit all of the communities to learn about the state of the houses. He will be giving us more information from the Mayor as it comes in.
As always, thank you for your continued generosity of heart for our work in Haiti. We couldn't do this work without the support of people like you! We are grateful for your continued giving in this time of recovery and rebuilding for the amazing people of Petit Trou de Nippes.
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