Most people don’t realize how much damage a hurricane can cause in a mountainous region because most of us assume higher ground always = safer ground, but that’s not necessarily true. Higher ground often means potential for heavier amounts of rain and stronger wind gusts due to increased elevation. Though it could have been so much worse, we’ve seen first-hand the damage that heavy rains and wind can cause to so many homes, livestock, and crops up here. We are grateful to be able to share that there are no reports of loss of life, or serious injury here in our region. It could have easily been a much different story. In the midst of seeing so much need around us, we are praising God for what wasn’t lost.
In everything that we do, we want to do it all to the best of our ability and to the glory of God. This includes our relief efforts. We do not want to jump into something that is going to cause more problems down the road instead of truly helping people. We don’t want to create dependency, but rather come alongside our neighbors and empower these families to recover, rebuild their lives, and provide for their families. TWC Haiti may have a children’s home we are responsible for, but our heart is always first to do everything within our power to keep families together and make every effort possible towards orphan prevention. Sadly, disasters like Hurricane Matthew can result in countless children ending up in orphanages because their parents cannot care for them for one reason or another. We don’t want this to be the case for any families around us. We took the time to talk with local leaders to hear and understand their perspectives and the villages’ greatest needs. We listened, prayed, and have outlined our initial plans for relief intervention in our area, below.
During our initial evaluation of the community, we saw over 100 damaged or destroyed homes, but we have only listed a few here. We have included some stories from people in the community and some of our staff member needs on this page. As funding comes in and these homes are rebuilt or repaired, we will take them down and add new stories/needs. We are already hearing (and seeing) from other neighboring villages that there are many other homes that are now destroyed, or completely unsafe. TWCH is committed to doing as much as we are able to.
Pray for wisdom for us, for financial provisions, and for Christ to be honored and the Gospel to be advanced through our efforts to provide some relief care to those suffering the most around us. The Gospel isn’t just about preaching a sermon. Often, the Gospel is seen most-clearly through God’s people meeting needs in times like these. TWC Haiti is committed to making the most of any and every opportunity to share Christ. Any family we help, will hear the Gospel, but every family impacted, will also bear witness to the Gospel as God’s people come together to love them in their time of need.
*We want to be extremely clear that all of our relief efforts are taking place in villages in the mountain region of Delice near our ministry. We are not working in the southern peninsula as we are too far away and do not have the resources, staff, or vehicles to do so at this time. If you would like to give towards the relief efforts in the southern peninsula where the devastation is the worst, we are more than happy to refer you to some great, trustworthy organizations who are doing vital work there.*
This is Elousa’s home.
He and his wife have four children. Elousa has worked with us since we first started building here in the mountains over a year ago. He has been a trustworthy, hard-working, dependable staff member. He helps oversee the sand-mining crews, security needs, and helps us maintain our large property and our crops. When the hurricane came, it brought lots and lots of rain over the course of 30+ hours. Water rushed through their mud walls, soaking them entirely and compromising the safety of the entire structure. If mud walls don’t collapse immediately, they will dry out and crumble very soon after. He and his family know this well, and they will not sleep inside their house for that reason. The walls are already cracking and crumbling. Their family needs a completely rebuilt home.
This is Leon’s brother, Verlice’s house.
The only warning he received was when we sent Leon down to start telling everyone roughly 24 hours before the storm hit. He braced his house during the hurricane with sticks and covered the roof with banana leaves, but his house was completely ruined. Mud walls just cannot hold up under these conditions, but it’s all these people have. There isn’t even access to better building materials up here. All four of his walls fell inward on each other and structurally, his home is a total loss. Verlice and his wife have 3 children.
In studying the homes that were partially damaged or completely destroyed versus those that had minimal to no problems here in the mountain villages, the only difference was a thin layer of stucco on the exterior and interior walls. Most of these homes are constructed with only mud and rocks, so when they got too wet in the 30+ hours of rain, the mud started to give way. Some houses hadn’t collapsed yet, but have cracks all the way through them, and the families know it’s only a matter of hours or days before they fall completely, so they will not go inside for fear of their safety. Roofs were also destroyed in several homes. We have had all kinds of ideas of how we could bring them better housing, but there are several struggles up here that complicate any construction efforts. The vast majority of these families live in villages that are only reachable by narrow, miles-long “goat paths” –that not even a motorcycle could traverse to bring in things like block, or large amounts of rebar, etc. After a great deal of consideration, we believe the best method for rebuilding these homes is to do two at a time, and to implement very similar stone building techniques to those we’ve employed for the Agape House homes and our own home. No house is guaranteed to weather any storm that could come in the future, but we know with stronger, stone and concrete homes, these families will have significantly better protection in the future. We will be employing two stone masons per house, but the families and community leaders have all volunteered their time and labor to help rebuild their homes in exchange for us providing meals. We have a large amount of rice and beans that were donated for this purpose.
In our evaluation of TWCH’s closest villages (Giyon, Sikren, Lamorte, Basia, Napadi, Domichel, Putroille, all in the greater Delice area) we saw that houses that were simply stuccoed withstood the storm much better than the typical mud and stone homes. In our rebuilding efforts, the average home will use approximately 50 bags of cement to build safer stone & concrete walls, as well as pour a concrete floor to help protect from flooding in the future. To sponsor the purchase and transport of one bag of cement is $12. The roads up here are very hard on our vehicles, and we will also need to hire dump trucks to bring in additional relief supplies and they charge considerably more per bag to get it up to our region. This is why virtually no homes have cement utilized in the building process. Every bag for $12 will make a huge difference in ensuring safer homes for these families.
Many roofs in the villages were destroyed, but because of lack of resources, they just put the bent-up, torn, hole-punched metal back on their homes if they are able to recover it, or they cover the roof with banana leaves, sticks, and any other items that are somewhat water-resistant. Help re-roof a home in our area buy purchasing roofing metal for a home. The average home uses 10 sheets of roofing metal. We plan to use a higher-quality roofing metal that will last longer. Sponsor a sheet for $11. This includes the price to purchase and to transport. Every sheet will literally be providing protection over the heads of families.
Rebuild a Home
Rebuild a home for a family, and in doing so, provide a safer, stronger house to better protect them from storms like this in the future. For a gift of $1,000, you can meet a huge need and give a priceless gift to a family that lost their home. This will build a home with stone and concrete walls, a concrete floor (rather than the dirt floors they currently have), and a stronger roof with better metal and hurricane straps.
Most of the gardens in our area were destroyed. The gardens consist of thousands of acres planted with corn and beans which are now all practically useless. Agriculture is a vital way of life for mountain families. It not only provides desperately-needed income, but also helps to provide for the food needs of the entire country. The loss of gardens all over Haiti means a food shortage is imminent. We developed a plan of purchasing bags of seed as soon as possible in an effort to have them available to local farmers for the next planting season. The hurricane is going to cause a major food shortage, but if we can be ahead of the game, be ready to distribute, then we can help alleviate the burden of shortages on seeds and produce. This has the potential to impact thousands upon thousands of people.
The mountain villages here grow a lot of corn. The corn is used in three different ways.
1) They eat it
2) They sell it
3) They store it for next season.
This year there will not be enough harvest for them to do all 3 steps because of the volume of crops that were lost in the storm. They will have to decide between eating, selling or re-planting. Re-planting will automatically lose and next season no one will have enough seed or money to plant. This will greatly impact the country and the already-growing food problem. Sponsor a sack of corn seed for $50/bag.
The mountain villages depend heavily on beans. The beans are used in three different ways.
1) They eat them
2) They sell them
3) They store them for next planting season.
This year there will not be enough harvest for them to do all 3 steps because of the volume of crops that were lost in the storm. They will have to decide between eating, selling or re-planting. Re-planting will automatically lose and next season no one will have enough seed or money to plant. This will greatly impact the country and the already-growing food problem. Sponsor a sack of beans to be planted for $200/bag.
LOTS of animals died during the hurricane because they were tied up in a bad position and drowned, or they were exposed to dangerous elements like debris from the high winds. These animals (goats, cows, horses, pigs, chickens) are an investment and function as monetary value for so many families, so losing one is a very bad thing. There are no barns to protect one’s livestock up here, and there are no insurance policies when these families lose everything. We currently know of at least 15 staff from local villages that have worked on the construction of the Agape House homes, who have lost animals, but there are countless more. We would love to help families recover in this manner as well. One goat can make a huge difference for a family that is struggling.
LOTS of animals died during the hurricane because they were tied up in a bad position and drowned. These animals are an investment and function as monetary value for a family, so losing one is a very bad thing. We currently know (personally) of at least 15 people who have lost animals that we would love to help replace them, but there are many, many more families in this same position.
Believe it or not, one goat can make a huge difference for a struggling household.
Another animal that died during the hurricane because they were tied up in a bad position and drowned is pigs. Pigs are very valuable when they are grown, so a loss of a big pig can be detrimental to a family. We currently know of at least 2 staff members who have lost pigs that we would love to help replace.
ALL DONATIONS MADE ON THIS PAGE ARE FOR HURRICANE RELIEF EFFORTS. FOR ALL OTHER DONATIONS PLEASE CLICK HERE.
*Any donations from this page that are selected as recurring will be used as relief funds until relief work is finished and then changed over to the general fund.*
Together We Can – Haiti is an organization functioning in Haiti under Together We Can, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, dedicated to aiding those in need. All donations made to us are tax-deductible. 100% of the amount donated goes directly to the projects we support (except for the PayPal processing fee for donations made through PayPal). Letters documenting all donations for tax purposes are mailed at the beginning of January.