Today, Hurricane Matthew has returned to Category 4 strength as it moves toward the southeastern United States, and the current death toll in Haiti is nearly 300, according to reports by the New York Times, Washington Post and other outlets. Episcopal Relief and Development has created a Hurricane Matthew Response Fund, with online donations possible: click here to contribute.
The Episcopal News Service published an update on the impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti last night, linked here:
Sikhumbuzo Vundla, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s chief of operations, said Oct. 4 after the brunt of the storm had passed that damage assessment would begin in earnest Oct. 5. Initial reports indicate that all the clergy of the diocese and their families survived. Bishop Jean-Zaché Duracin and his family were safe and sheltering at home, he said.
The southern coastal town of Les Cayes is reported to be devastated. A resident told CBS News that “it’s like a bulldozer just passed by.” The diocese’s Bishop Tharp Institute of Business and Technology is located in Les Cayes.
The diocese’s Faculte des Sciences Infirmieres de Léogâne nursing school in Léogâne (about 18.5 miles outside of Port-au-Prince) did not sustain damage from Matthew, according to postings on its Facebook page. Students, faculty, and staff stayed on campus as the storm passed and no one was injured.
Dioceses and parishes in the U.S. are trying to reach ministry partners in Haiti. Two service corps members have been reported safe:
Two Episcopal Church Young Adult Service Corps members, Elijah Lewis from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina and Mitch Honan from the Diocese of Connecticut, are safe. Both are stationed the St. Barnabas Agricultural Center in Cap Haitien in the northern part of Haiti. Matthew went past the area but caused far less damage.
Is your area affected by the coming storm? Is your parish or diocese responding? Share in the comments below and/or on our Facebook page.
Photo from NASA, via the Boston Globe.