Two weeks ago Week of Compassion and the United Church of Christ responded with a joint appeal to Hurricane Matthew, which slammed into the coast of Haiti. Winds between 60-75 mph lashed thatch roofed homes. Nearly forty inches of rain poured down while families huddled together. Now the storm has passed and left 750,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. Over the next four days, the storm moved up the eastern coast of the United States, causing damage in several states, including extreme flooding in North Carolina.
When the river rose in Kinston, NC, flooding bridges and roads, it split the town. On one side of the river, the hospital; on the other side, hundreds of families affected by the post-hurricane Matthew floods. Emergency management contacted Southwood Memorial Christian Church as a possible host site for emergency personnel in the areas cut off from the hospital. Immediately, Rev. Andrew Shue and the leadership of the congregation opened the church to house dozens of EMTs, National Guard members, and other first responders. With support from Week of Compassion, SMCC is feeding volunteers three meals a day and providing support to their local community.
Their parking lot became the location for a mobile emergency clinic. "It's certainly busy, but it is worth it," says Rev. Shue. "Just the other day, a young boy, maybe four years old, was resuscitated in the parking lot clinic. That makes it all worth it."
From Our Haitian Partners
After a rapid, preliminary assessment of what urgently needs to be addressed, Week of Compassion partners in Haiti shared a few quotes from affected families in the Northwest of Haiti.
A pastor shared: "I lost all my 14 goats". Not far away, was another house, with only a foundation and one wall remaining and some scattered notebooks and items of clothes remaining.
A pregnant mother of six said: "We had left our home to look for shelter, our house was damaged. I had only one suitcase and thieves took it. The shoes and school uniforms were spoiled by mud. My children are not in school now."
Cholera is increasing, food will be a concern because the gardens have been lost, many homes were damaged, everywhere trees are down, fields of bananas are flattened, and livestock was lost.
Week of Compassion partners are working to address all of these issues - from the restoration of schools, to the repairing of houses and the renewal of agriculture, to the provision of clean water through filtration and sanitation systems. Many of those who have been affected are feeling exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and our partners are there to offer hope.
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