A Sarnia-based relief agency is scrambling to assist the people of Haiti reeling from the impact of Hurricane Matthew.
Rayjon Share Care has ongoing humanitarian projects in Saint-Marc in the west and Cap-Haitien on the north of Haiti, and both felt the wrath of Matthew earlier this month.
Local homes are built out of simple materials and many of them are decimated, said spokesperson Dianne McKillican, noting any donations right now are gratefully accepted.
“I think everybody has lost at least their roof.”
She said reports out of the largely agricultural valley of Saint-Marc are grim.
“Livestock is gone and it’s not like they have big farms. They’ll have a few goats, a pig if they’re lucky, and they’re just totally washed away.”
Rebuilding homes and towns takes away aid resources Haitians were already depending on prior to the hurricane, McKillican added.
“Families are in such a dreadful bind now; they’ve got to replace so much.”
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall on Oct. 4 with rain and driving winds up 233 km/h (145 mph).
The storm killed nearly 900 people and left tens of thousands homeless. Already fragile villages were flattened and some communities were completely cut off due to washed-out roads and failed cellphone networks.
The danger now is cholera, spread by flash floods and sewage. The infection has appeared in both communities in which Rayjon works, hampering an already desperate attempt to rebuild, McKillican said.
While regular hand washing is a strong deterrent, clean water is scarce in the hurricane’s aftermath, she added.
“When you’re around mess all the time you can’t wash often enough. And what are you washing in?”
Haiti was stricken with a cholera outbreak following the 2010 earthquake, another natural disaster from which the country still has not recovered.
Rayjon is marking its 30th anniversary this month, and donations are needed now more than ever, McKillican said
“What we’re spending the money on is mainly medication and education,” she said, adding those impacted lack the money to simultaneously send children to school, pay for medical care and rebuild,
To help, visit the Rayjon website at www.rayjon.org, or send donations by cheque to: Rayjon, 1923 Park Ave., Bright’s Grove, N0N1C0.
Please label cheques with the words: “Hurricane relief.”