Faces of the storm
When Hurricane Irma passed north of Haiti on September 7, 2017, heavy rains caused flash flooding in parts of the Artibonite valley and its mountains, sweeping away gardens, fruit trees, damaging and destroying homes, and killing animals. The morning after the storm, MCC staff members traveled to the La Chapelle commune, an area hard hit by flash floods. MCC staff met with members of the local government and the families whose lives were upended by the storm. These are some of their stories.
Koleman Franswa had to act quickly when floodwaters started rushing into the home she shares with 5 other people, including 3 children. To keep them safe, Koleman lifted the children up onto the rafters to wait out the floodwaters. The water carried away most of her family’s belongings, including school supplies and uniforms for the children, which they need to attend classes.
Chartier Jusford lives with sixteen members of her extended family, including eleven other children. When Hurricane Irma caused floodwaters to rise dangerously in her home, Chartier and her family escaped the water by climbing trees in the night, and waiting until the water receded enough to allow them to wade to a neighbors home on higher ground.
Jantonie Fontil is a mason in Otovan, La Chapelle commune. He and his family were asleep when floodwaters reached their home. The water came quickly. Just moments after his youngest child shouted that she felt water on the floor, it was over her head. The Fontil family stood outside in the rain, at the highest point in their yard, for two hours before the water receded enough for them to escape to a neighbor’s home on higher ground.
While the worst of Hurricane Irma passed Haiti by, for many of these families, the road to recovery ahead is daunting. MCC's response began with material aid distributions to 90 families, including these families, who lost so much in the flood. MCC is launching a larger food security response in the same communities, including the distribution of food assistance and seeds, so people can replant their gardens. Please join MCC in walking alongside these communities as they rebuild their lives once more.