Hurricane Matthew Strikes Haiti

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Photo Courtesy of American Red Cross.

In early October 2016, category five Hurricane Matthew struck the Caribbean and the southernmost tip of the United States. Since then, the death toll in Haiti has reached at least 842 while the United States has a death toll of 45.

According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), over 2.1 million Haitians were affected by Hurricane Matthew.  Additionally, the U.S. Energy Information administration reported that over 2.5 million people were without power in the five southern states most impacted by the storm—North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Florida.  State rivers in both North Carolina and South Carolina found themselves overwhelmed with flooding such as in the Waccamaw River near Conway, South Carolina and the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

The American Red Cross has been working to aid the people impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

As stated on the Red Cross official website, “The Red Cross has mobilized more than 3,000 disaster workers, 170 response vehicles—more than half of our total vehicle fleet—and more than 100 trailers filled with water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.”

However, the worst of Hurricane Matthew’s damage was done to Haiti, where the hurricane was at its worst, initially starting as a category five. According to the Ministry of the Interior of Haiti an estimated “750,000 persons [in Haiti] are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 175,000 who are living in 224 temporary shelters.”

Prior to Hurricane Matthew, Haiti was already having problems relating to the country’s healthcare, water and sanitation systems. They especially had issues with diarrheal diseases such as cholera, but Hurricane Matthew made things worse by destroying cholera treatment centers and water distribution systems. As stated by the PAHO/WHO, “Seventy-five percent of the cholera treatment facilities in Sud and GrandAnse departments have been destroyed, while water distribution systems in the main cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes have almost entirely collapsed.”

On October 14, 2016 PAHO/WHO called for donors to donate over $9,050,000 to humanitarian efforts.

Here is how the American Red Cross suggests people can help:

MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

GIVE BLOOD, PLATELETS In parts of the country unaffected by the storm, the Red Cross needs eligible individuals to please give blood or platelets now to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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