Dec16FriDecember 16, 2016
When Hurricane Matthew swept through the north Caribbean, leaving a trail of destruction in the first week of October, EMCC set up a fund to assist with the relief efforts. Many of you responded. To date, approximately $10,000 has been collected.
Marilyn McIlroy, EMCC World Partners Project Manager of Health and Community Development, recently returned from Haiti where she had been leading various volunteer medical teams. Most of her work was in the northern part of the island, but she did take a reconnaissance team over washed out roads into Benoit and Les Cayes, two communities in the south-west that experienced the fury of the storm. EMCC has sister churches in both of these communities.
The small church in Benoit was completely obliterated by the storm. Pastor Jean Claude of Les Cayes lost his house, and like so many others, has since taken refuge inside the church, which itself, lost much of its roof.
Marilyn and her team literally camped on what was left of the foundation of the Benoit church and set up a clinic under the make-shift shelter that served as a temporary meeting space for the church. Over a three-day period, they treated as many people as they possibly could for various health issues. Fortunately the villages had good wells, so cholera was not a major issue. The team also visited from house to house (or what was left of them) to assess where help was most needed. Many packages of clothing, towels and sheets were distributed.
Food has found its way to these areas since the storm and there has been significant rainfall so the landscape is green and gardens have been planted. The next crop of sweet potatoes should be ready to harvest by mid-January. Marilyn was encouraged by the spirit of hope she saw in the villagers in spite of the real challenges they face. Most of them lost their livestock, which to us, would be the equivalent of our bank accounts. Most have had their homes damaged in some way, if not destroyed. The predominant request of the villagers was for help in rebuilding their homes.
Additional money from the Hurricane Matthew Relief fund will go toward home reconstruction that will be coordinated through our Homes for Haiti manager in Haiti early in the new year.
In Cuba, the two places most seriously affected by Hurricane Matthew were the cities of Maisi, with a population of 28,000 and Baracoa with a population of 81,000. On visiting the area just after the storm, Rodolfo Rodriguez Matos, president of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Cuba, reported that 99% of the houses were damaged seriously – roofs torn off, wall destroyed, possessions ruined. Many communities were without water.
Rudolfo solicited help from his churches and was able to distribute clothes, soap, toys, shoes, meals and many other basic necessities in 8 communities.
Bob Bartell, who serves as a liaison between EMCC and the Evangelical Missionary Church of Cuba will be travelling to Cuba mid-January with funds for the relief effort. The funds will likely be used for purchasing materials for roof repair, for mattresses and other items of necessity in the homes. It takes the country some time to get materials for house repair into the country and then delivered to the affected areas. Bob’s visit will be timely with respect to delivering funds at a time when the needed resources will actually be available.Thank you to all who have donated to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Cuba and Haiti. The Hurricane Matthew Fund remains open and the needs are still very real. Contributions to the fund are welcome anytime.