The Church Responds to Hurricane Matthew

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A woman protects herself from the rain with a piece of plastic prior the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, in Tabarre, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, used by Catholic Relief Services with permission

A woman protects herself from the rain with a piece of plastic prior the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, in Tabarre, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, used by Catholic Relief Services with permission

Hurricane Matthew, a powerful category 4 storm, made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday, October 4, with 145 mile per hour winds, storm surges and up to 40 inches of rainfall. Along with partners, Catholic Relief Services is responding, moving personnel, and transporting and delivering relief items. CRS is also working with local partners to monitor the impact of Matthew on Cuba and the Dominican Republic and will respond when the situation on the ground becomes clear. CRS works on behalf of Catholics in the United States to assist poor and vulnerable people around the world.

Please support the Church’s response to Hurricane Matthew as we pray, learn, act and give to those in need.


Recent Updates from the Field

“Hundreds of lives have been lost. We have seen roofs blown off houses, damaged homes and waters flooding the streets, but we still don’t know the full scale of the damage. We will be doing all we can to reach the most affected areas as quickly as possible,” says Catholic Relief Services Haiti Country Representative Chris Bessey. “We are very concerned about the damage to crops and food stocks in areas that are important bread baskets in the country. Any damage to crops could result in a spike in food costs for people already so vulnerable.”

Three Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staff rode out Hurricane Matthew in the small coastal town of Dame Marie (Haiti)  that was directly in the path of the center of the storm. Though suffering no injuries themselves, they reported almost all of the buildings in this town of 15,000 were destroyed.

The 30,000 residents of Jeremie, on the northern side of the peninsula that is southwest Haiti, were said to be without water and also facing widespread destruction and no communications.

The latest reports from Les Cayes, where CRS’ main office in the region is located, are of no electricity and damage to even substantial buildings, including the Church, schools and the roof of the hospital.

CRS staff said they hope to expand relief efforts when flights to the region resume. Work continues on a bridge damaged in the storm, cutting the highway linking the area to the capital Port-au-Prince. Its repair will allow automobiles and trucks to reach the area.

PRAY

As Catholics, we recognize that prayer binds us in solidarity to our neighbors in distress, and connects us more deeply with the grace that flows from God. In times like these, we encourage responses that begin with prayer.


LEARN


ACT


GIVE

As the hurricane clears, CRS has staff in place ready to respond, along with pre-positioned food, shelter and supplies. In the aftermath, however, we will learn how much we need to scale up our efforts, and how difficult it will be to reach affected populations. This is why we need your continued prayers and support.

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Please feel free to share these resources and donation links with our parishes, via your blogs, or on social media.

by Genevieve Jordan-Laskey

About the author: Genevieve Jordan Laskey is a resource development specialist for Catholic Relief Services, working with their US Operations department to develop tools for prayer, Catholic formation and action with a global perspective, for use by Catholic communities in the United States.

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. We are the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of Caritas International and the National Catholic Development Conference. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Pinterest.

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