Oct. 5, 2016
Brethren in Haiti and the DR send preliminary reports,
Brethren leaders from Haiti and the Dominican Republic have begun sending preliminary news of their situation in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which hit the island shared by the two Caribbean nations on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The reports have been communicated to the Global Mission and Service office and received by office manager Kendra Harbeck.
A preliminary report from Haiti was sent by Ilexene Alphonse, staff of Global Mission and Service serving with l’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). So far no loss of lives and no loss of homes have been reported among the Haitian Brethren.
Richard Mendieta, president of the church in the DR, reported, “So far so good, just lots of water. But all good thanks to God.”
“There is damage in some cities, but we are looking for information to see if some churches and members of our church have been affected,” reported treasurer Gustavo Lendi Bueno.
Brethren Disaster Ministries preparing a response
“Global Mission and Service through Brethren Disaster Ministries is preparing a response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the United States,” reported Roy Winter, associate executive director. “Early reports from the Haitian Church of the Brethren indicate families have taken shelter through the storm and there is no reported loss of life or homes among the Brethren. Communication and access is limited to the far Western part of Haiti due to extensive storm damage to homes, roads, and infrastructure.”
In the coming week, staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries will work with the Haitian Brethren and Church World Service to further assess the situation and determine response plans in the Caribbean and on the east coast of the United States, Winter reported.
Disaster response staff are monitoring the progress of the hurricane and will work with local districts in response to any damage in Florida, the Carolinas, or other areas. Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) teams already are on alert to respond where needed on the east coast.
“We have a team of 10 people that are ready to go this weekend if needed,” according to CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller.
The Haitian church’s Ministry Center in the Port-au-Prince area is okay, Alphonse said. There is flooding in Marin, however, which is a community that received assistance from Brethren Disaster Ministries after Hurricane Sandy caused flooding in 2012, and after the 2010 earthquake. People affected by flooding have been taking shelter in the Marin church.
Alphonse also shared some news about the general situation in the south of Haiti, which was hardest hit by the hurricane. At least 12 Haitians died in the storm and 20 are missing in communities such as Cayes, Petit Goave, and Miragoane, where there was a lot of storm damage and authorities are still assessing the situation.
Hurricane Matthew is reportedly the strongest storm to affect Haiti since the early 1960s. After crossing over Haiti it headed for the Bahamas, before it was expected to continue north and affect the east coast of the United States later in the week.
On Wednesday, the “Washington Post” reported that “the full extent of Matthew’s blow to Haiti remained unclear, with communications almost fully severed to some regions in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation–where tens of thousands of people still live in tents after an earthquake six years ago killed 200,000 people.”
More updates from the hurricane response and the situation in Haiti and the DR will be shared as they become available.
Support the Hurricane Matthew response in the Caribbean and US by giving to the Emergency Disaster Fund online at www.brethren.org/edf or by check to Emergency Disaster Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin IL 60120.
Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Kathy Fry-Miller, Kendra Harbeck, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for Oct. 7.