CRS teams report damage from Hurricane Matthew is ‘worse than anyone thought.’
Baltimore, Md. (KM) Hurricane Matthew left death and destruction when it came to Haiti. Catholic Reliefs Services, based in Baltimore, Md., has emergency teams on the ground. “I was just talking to colleagues there, and they said that in the town of Les Cayes in the south, every second tree is down. There’s been enormous devastation to property,” says Tom Price, Deputy Director of Communications for CRS. “They said that any dry place on the street is littered with mattresses, blankets and clothes as people try to dry their most basically belongings out so they can sleep comfortably at night.”
The powerful storm brought heavy flooding and reduced many houses to rubble, according to a report from Reuters. The news agency, as of Friday night, said the hurricane killed more than 800 people in Haiti.
Price says right now, the Haitian people need many of the basics which most of us take for granted. “The most immediate needs are emergency shelter, drinking water, hygiene kits, that’s very much basics like soap, shampoo and sanitary napkins, and living supplies like cooking pots and equipment like that. We’ve actually these distributions in the worst affected places,” he says.
Right now, Americans who want to help should send cash contributions, says Price, so CRS can purchase these basics for people in Haiti. “A comb, brush, a piece of soap, shampoo, that stuff has lost, has been washed way. Dry clothing: we don’t want people to send that, but when people give money, we’re able to turn that into the basics of life that are needed to survive and be comfortable as fast as possible,” he says.
If you want to help, you can go on line to www.crs.org, or call 1-877-435-7277. Checks can be mailed to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21297. Price says you should indicate on your check that you want the money to go toward Haitian relief.
“Catholic Relief Services has just committed an initial $5-million to this. We’re going to spend a lot more than that. But this is just our start,” says Price.
CRS is also helping out in Jamaica and Cuba, which weren’t hit as hard as Haiti by Hurricane Matthew. “The devastation wasn’t quite bad, though eastern Cuba did get hit quite hard,” Price says. “We’re funding available for support there as well.”
By Kevin McManus