Some Haitians are losing hope, and it’s hard to blame them.
Every time they seem to make progress towards both economic and social stability, something tragic clears the board and they have to start over.
Hurricane Matthew absolutely ravaged Haiti, killing over 1,000 people while leveling entire towns almost entirely off the map. The destruction means it’s still difficult to get supply shipments to the people.
The pictures alone are breathtakingly sad and tragic.
Faithwire reported yesterday that many Haitians flocked to church to worship and thank God in the midst of an incredibly trying time – but many are still struggling mightily.
It’s been over a week since the storm hit, and people are beginning to get desperate.
According to first hand accounts from the town of Jérémie, Haitians are getting desperate and overwhelming food and water distribution trucks. Meanwhile, politicians are trying to score points amidst the fight for food, and police are using gas to keep order.
Faithwire spoke with Axary Augustin, the coordinator of the Jérémie Haiti project.
“Last night, the people overwhelmed the (food distribution) boat and truck, which was on the way to deliver food to an orphanage.”
Augustin said this has been an ongoing problem in the wake of the hurricane, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
Because many of the roads are impassable, aid workers are trying to use boats. However, when those boats come in (there hasn’t been one in three days) they are overwhelmed by those desperate to get food.
“People were trying to get to the (aid distribution) boat to take the (supply) containers,” Augustin said. He also added that the poor of the poor are getting little to no food.
He stressed the dire nature of the situation, explaining that “there is an extreme emergency. We need help. Money, tools, metal sheets. This afternoon police used gas because people are overwhelming food trucks. I heard gunfire.”
Augustin also said some are upset that politicians seem to be playing politics with the tragedy. Food trucks are peppered with political stickers and politician’s faces. Even cans of rice are stuffed not just with food, but campaign materials.
Haiti was supposed to have a national election, but because of Hurricane Matthew it’s been postponed indefinitely.
Aid organizations Faithwire spoke with are reporting that there is a high likelihood that Haitian civil authorities are confiscating goods and distributing them per their discretion along political lines.
The charge is they are using the food and water as essentially a bribe to pay for their votes, distributing the food in areas politically beneficial to their campaigns.
“Since the hurricane, Previle (southwest of Jérémie) hasn’t received anything. People are sleeping under the moon.”
According to the L.A. Times, people are resorting to stopping convoys on their own:
“Dony St. Germain, an official with El Shaddai Ministries International, said young men in villages off the road between the southern city of Les Cayes and Jeremie were starting to put up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt the convoys. ‘They are seeing these convoys coming through with supplies and they aren’t stopping. They are hungry and thirsty and some are getting angry.’
All hope is not lost, however, as some aid trucks do arrive periodically and private aid workers have been spotted. Augustin said, “a Red Cross employee just visited my street to take people’s name for a possible delivery of blue tarps and other small things.”
Augustin works for the Jérémie Haiti project, an organization that was created after the 2010 earthquake. It brings medical professionals, medicine, clothes and more to the country. They’ve also paid for schools, elderly homes, and medical clinics to be built or remodeled. They focus many of their efforts in this specific area.
Cholera has exploded in the aftermath, aided by flooding and the fact that only about 1% of homes in the area survived the storm intact.
If you want to contribute directly to the people of this town, you can do so via the “Jeremie Haiti Project” where 100% of donations go directly to Jérémie.
Jérémie was directly in the path of the strongest part of Hurricane Matthew, and is essentially cut off from the rest of the country – there was only one road connecting it before and that road has flooded.
Help cannot come fast enough. The living conditions combined with a lack of basic necessities is a recipe for disaster.
Right at this very moment, people in this town are living in roofless, makeshift homes – literally living in the rubble.
People wait patiently for help.
The streets are crowded with people who cannot do anything but wait.
What little supplies they do have, get rationed.
So many kids. Not nearly enough supplies.
Pray and act to help the people of Haiti – And please spread the word. Most of the media has moved on from the story while the suffering continues.