Hurricane Matthew: a not-so-distant memory

By December 9, 2016
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Haiti (MNN) — Hurricane Matthew barely made a blip on the “radar” of mainstream media when it rolled through the Caribbean two months ago. Today, Bethany Christian Services is helping the storm’s forgotten victims.

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(Photo courtesy of Bethany)

“We are working, number one, with the government; number two, with local churches, so we can make sure the people who need it the most are receiving that help,” says Bethany’s President and CEO, Bill Blacquiere.

“Also, many schools have been devastated by the hurricane, and we know children need to be in school. So, we’re supplying textbooks that were destroyed, school kits, and even school uniforms to children.”

Hurricane Matthew recovery

According to the latest UN update, 1.4 million Haitians are in need of food assistance. Over 800,000 people are in urgent need and some 600,000 base their livelihood solely on agriculture. As previously noted, Hurricane Matthew destroyed an overwhelming majority of Haiti’s crops and animals.

While food is a critical need, so is clean water.

Hurricane Matthew, Haiti October 2016“Some of the areas that were hit were places where water would be shipped in, or piped in…and that no longer happened,” explains Blacquiere.

Bethany Christian Services is partnering with Haiti’s government to make sure clean water gets to the vulnerable families who need it most. Once families have been identified, water is distributed by Bethany and the seven Haitian churches it partners with.

“Through our efforts and social media…we have raised over $30,000 towards [providing] clean water and other supplies for families who truly are devastated by this hurricane,” shares Blacquiere.

Providing clean water may not seem like a big deal, until you consider its role in preventing cholera. Cholera is caused by drinking contaminated water. In the weeks immediately following Hurricane Matthew’s landfall, widespread cholera outbreaks were a serious concern.

Going above and beyond to help

Bethany isn’t a disaster response ministry. But, part of providing holistic care for families and children in need means helping them weather life’s storms.

(Photo courtesy Bethany)

(Photo courtesy of Bethany)

It’s an encouragement to believers, and an example of Christ’s love to those who don’t know Him.

“People in the community see [that], ‘The church is really helping us’ and people are drawn to attend that church; [the] church has a strategy for presenting the Gospel to the families,” says Blacquiere. “Pray for the strengthening of churches in Haiti that are part of the solution here.”

You can be part of the solution, too. Along with prayer, “we do need some financial assistance to continue to make sure families receive clean water and some food,” says Blacquiere.

$25 provides a family of five with clean water and rice.

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