"Yesterday we lost everything"
The story of the catastrophe that is Hurricane Mathew is still unfolding on a large scale, but on a personal level, in each neighborhood there are stories of tragedy and loss. While the road to southern Haiti, the area that sustained the most direct impact of storm, is still impassible, in Port-au-Prince, people are suffering the effects of Hurricane Mathew today.
This afternoon, MCC staff visited the Voudray neighborhood of Cite Soleil, one of the largest slums in Port-au-Prince. Sitting right at sea level, this vulnerable neighborhood suffered the effects of high winds, rain and a storm surge, where most people were already struggling to get by day-to-day. The three women pictured above are all homeowners whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Mathew. The rain and rising River Gris washed away their houses, possessions, livestock, and gardens, taking with them their livelihoods. “Yesterday we lost everything, our chickens, our pig, and our garden, this is how I eat, this is how I feed my children, this is how I keep them safe at night,” said Sarditren Dete (pictured right). MCC staff visited the community of Cite Soleil, and through a local partner, SAKALA, provided support through emergency relief kits, blankets, food, and water purification tablets. “We know that these first supplies are a stop-gap, and in no way address the long-term challenges that this community and others in Haiti are facing right now,” said Rebecca Shetler Fast, MCC Haiti Co-Representative, “but it is important to us to be present in these communities right away, to bare witness to the effects of the Hurricane, and to provide what immediate assistance we can, right away.” Paul Shetler Fast MCC Haiti Co-Representative reflected, “one of things that struck me most was handing water purification tablets to Hudson Reny-Jean (pictured below). He held these 3 cent tablets in his hand and just kept repeating, ‘these are such a blessing, these are such a blessing for our community,’ as he pointed to the now contaminated community wells.”
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