Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti’s Tiburon peninsula with winds of 145 mph, a storm surge that swept across fishing villages and flattening homes. Nearly all crops and fruit trees were destroyed. The Haitian government has begun to deliver wheat, beans, cooking oil and salt, but more than 360,000 were affected and estimates of death range from 500 (A.P.) to 842 (Reuters). Cholera has already begun to take hold.
After Haiti, Matthew also struck the Bahamas, where Converge missionaries Raoul and Karen Armbrister serve with a network of churches. Most trees were stripped. Homes and churches suffered structural damage, with 60 percent of roofs damaged or destroyed. Thousands of families were displaced. The government estimates it will take three to 13 weeks before power is restored.
Converge World Relief is responding to the needs in both nations. Our Beraca Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., has six years of ministry in the Jeremie and Leogane regions of southwest Haiti and infrastructure to deliver much-needed food, water and toiletries. Funds are needed to purchase these items in country and to transport them. Converge World Relief is accepting funds for immediate response and longer-term reconstruction efforts. These will be allocated by the Haitian Ministry Expansion Team board.
In the Bahamas, Converge Relief Funds will provide funds to purchase a generator for the Armbristers’ home, as well as flood cleanup. Funds will also provide fuel for generators and non-perishable foods for churches to provide in their communities, as well as supply the Feeding Center the Armbristers’ manage.