Haiti and the Dominican Republic braced as Hurricane Matthew approaches

Haiti and the Dominican Republic braced as Hurricane Matthew approaches

One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent years is expected to cause flooding and landslides when it passes over Jamaica and Haiti.

Hurricane Matthew continues to move north at 5.7 mph (9.17 kph), with maximum winds of 140 mph (225.3 kph) and gusts up to 165 mph (265.5 kph). Hurricane Matthew is predicted to unleash 15 to 25 inches (38cm to 63.5cm) of rain on southern Haiti and the southwestern Dominican Republic, with isolated downpours resulting in an estimated 40 inches (101.6cm) in certain parts of south Haiti.

Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Americas and its poor infrastructure and living conditions means its inhabitants are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Thousands of Haitians are still living in tents following the enormous earthquake in 2010, which makes them especially vulnerable to the effects of Hurricane Matthew. The country is also prone to flash floods and mudslides due to deforestation.

The eye of the storm is predicted to make landfall around daybreak Tuesday 4 October – around 11-12 am GMT. This will probably happen off the western tip of the Tiburon Peninsula, which includes most of Haiti’s southern coast.

Compassion Haiti’s country director, Guilbaud Saint-Cyr, explains, “Because we work with the poorest within our reach, they are among the most vulnerable in our country; living in tents, near ravines … and in times of hurricanes like this, they lack everything. This includes shelter, food, water, dry clothes and hygiene items.”

Compassion Haiti’s church partners have been trained in crisis and disaster planning and have committees in place with a contextualised disaster plan for Hurricane Matthew. “Church leaders and Compassion’s field-based Partnership facilitators know in advance what to do, whilst maintaining in close contact with us for further instructions of interventions,” Guilbaud says.

Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK says, “We are praying for the nations of Haiti and Dominican Republic and those who are about to be affected by this storm. Our concern and prayers turn especially to those who are not able to prepare for the damage that could happen. We know many have nowhere to evacuate to, or the resources to leave their homes for the safety of higher ground. For those living in coastal areas the storm surge is expected to cause widespread flooding over the next few days. We stand ready to support our colleagues and church partners as they work to serve the most vulnerable in the aftermath of this storm.”

Please join with us in prayer for Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Pray that God, who has control over the hurricane, minimises its threats. Pray too, that God will give the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic people tireless energy, hope and peace over the next few days and weeks as they face the challenges ahead.

Becca Stanley

Words by Becca Stanley


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.