MAF survey flights to assess the damage and needs in southern Haiti following hurricane Matthew reveal 'complete devastation'.
Our aircraft in Haiti were in the air as soon as category 4 hurricane Matthew moved north, leaving at least 300 people dead and many thousands of people homeless.
The flight looked at the condition airstrips near Haiti's south coast which they could use for relief flights, and it shows that all the airstrips are fit to land on.
MAF pilot Michael Broyles was on a flight describes the scene as 'complete devastation'. 'From Zanglais west is bad. The worst of the devastation is Port Salut west to Dame Marie. Jeremie is close behind, and then Cayes. Decimated in each area. Lots of work to be done,' he continues.
'A major long term concern is the complete loss of gardens in these areas. Food is already scarce.'
A different kind of crisis
The hurricane has destroyed infrastructure, making access and communications very challenging. Roads, bridges, mobile communication and internet access are all impeded to the affected areas.Here are some comments from David Carwell, Haiti program manager, that give a good picture of the situation.
'This is a different kind of crisis to the 2010 earthquake,' shares David Carwell, MAF Haiti's Programme manager. 'It’s not happening in the capital. It’s happening in the rural areas, and that makes it a different situation in a couple of ways. In one respect, it’s more serious because homes are not made of concrete. Many of them are grass or mud or tin roofs and we understand many homes have been wiped out.'
'The other difference is it’s not happening where the central population is, two to three million people here in the capital. It’s happening out in rural areas that are difficult to reach, and they’re even more difficult now because bridges are out and roads are impassable. So we’re going to use aircraft to go to those airstrips that are in the southern peninsula and take as many supplies and personnel as we can, first responders.'
The MAF team has around 15 Haitian staff and 5 international staff families on the ground. They will be joined by David McCleery, MAF’s Latin America regional director, and Vaughn Woodward, deputy director of Global Disaster Response who will assist with anticipated relief efforts.
What you can do
The Haiti team asks for prayer for the following:
- For those who are injured.
- For those who have lost homes, gardens, and livelihoods.
- For those who have lost loved ones.
- For the MAF team as they ramp up for disaster response.
- For protection against water-borne diseases, which are common in disasters like this.
- That relief work in Haiti will be conducted in a way that helps the country in both the short and long terms.
- That people’s hearts will turn to Jesus because of this experience.
Photos taken by MAF's Tim Schandorff.