We are now over 5 months removed from Hurricane Matthew, which utterly devastated the country of Haiti near the end of September 2016, beginning of October 2016.
Recovering from a natural disaster of this caliber takes months to years. The rebuilding process can be overwhelming, but there's only one way to complete it: one brick at a time.
Because of your continued outpouring of love in response to the hurricane, IDES has been blessed to partner with multiple local churches and missions in Haiti to bring help and hope to thousands of families in the name of Jesus Christ.
The storm damage was worst in several communities located in the southernmost regions of the country.
"Thank you for responding so quickly to our 'Macedonian call' following Hurricane Matthew. The devastations were beyond description from La Grand’ Anse, to the great south region up to the Nippes. We have never witnessed anything of that magnitude for years," one mission partner reported. "Entire communities like Jeremie, Rozeau, Pestel, Chambellan, Les Cayes, Fonfrede, Demion, Tiffet, Ducis, and Camperrin were completely destroyed. The livestock was carried into the ocean and people were left with no places to call homes. At Fonfrede, Cayes the human suffering was beyond what words could possibly express when we turned to you for assistance."
In the midst of the storm, hundreds of people fled to local church and school buildings for refuge.
"More than 600 people turned to our school building for refuge. Our school building was among the very few structures that that resisted the fury of the strong winds of Hurricane Matthew. It was a great crisis, of such a magnitude that we have never seen before," another mission partner said.
In response to their cries for help, your love showed up. You, along with hundreds of other faithful IDES supporters like you, generously came together to meet the needs of those who were affected by this disaster.
Emergency food and drinking water has been provided to thousands over the course of the past 5 months. In the case of one specific mission partner, over 3,072 people were fed.
"The food is giving them strength not only physically but also spiritually. They are seeing that people in the US care about them and that they are not forgotten with their struggles and
hardships," our partner said.
Homes are being rebuilt, and communal structures like churches and schools are being repaired. Although the recovery process is not finished, progress is being made in Jesus' name.
"In this context we turned to our faithful friends and partners of International Disaster Emergency Service....In addition to distributing food, the roof of the church of Cambry has been repaired allowing the community of Cambry to return to their congregation which is the center of their communal life. Cambry is so thankful and appreciative to our brothers and sisters of IDES. Thank you for helping our communities to get back on their feet," one partner said. "In so doing, you have impacted thousands by demonstrating in a tangible way the poignant reality of Christ love and compassion. As we were writing this, we were reminded of a poignant scene [from scripture] where a leper cried out in despair, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” The following verse says that Jesus, filled with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched the man saying, 'I am willing, be clean!' Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Our brothers and sisters of IDES have stretched out their hands to touch many these past months that were in despair and hopelessness. Thank you for your kindness and generosity. Hope has been restored and we will laugh again. We would like to take advantage of this opportunity to express our gratefulness and appreciation on behalf of our people."
Much has been accomplished, but there is yet much to be done. Due to the powerful, ocean-fueled rains, much of the soil in the southern half of the country has been drenched with salt, effectively preventing any crops from growing until dilution takes place.
"It will take many many rains to start to dilute this salt. This is what will have to happen before any crops can be planted," one partner reported. "The other obstacle will be moving rocks and trying to find some sort of ground to plant in. I cried when I saw this area and the people I love. When I saw how they are struggling, it made me sad, but yet I saw them smiling and trying to help each other and still praising God...I speak for all the people of St Matin, Haiti when I say, 'thank you and God Bless You.' "