Hurricane Matthew powered its way through the Caribbean, leaving a mass of destruction in its wake.
In Haiti alone, which was hit hardest by the storm, 280 people died in the category 4 hurricane, according to Haitian Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph. The remainder of people died in the Dominican Republic and St. Vincent. The death toll rises each day as the buildings and infrastructures continue to collapse in populated areas. Thousands are still missing or buried in rubble.
On October 7, the powerful storm with wind speeds of 125 mph struck the country of Haiti, flooding approximately 1,580 homes affecting around 3,215 families across the country.
Aid agencies responded rapidly to the Haiti disaster only to find it to be far worse than anticipated. The agencies find themselves in need of more support and supplies than they have.
Spokeswoman for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, Ariane Quentier, said “What we are realizing, as we are going further […] is that there’s been a lot of devastation and a lot of damage and probably a lot more than what we had initially assessed.”
The Haitian cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie received the brunt of the storm resulting in more and more shelters being constructed to house individuals of destroyed homes or who are in need of medical attention. According to CNN, of Haiti is in dire need of food and shelter.
In Cuba, the storm’s left damage, yet the blow fell less forcefully. CNN reported that, in northeastern Cuba, more than 30 houses were swept away by the hurricane. After the hurricane passed, no casualties were reported.
Cesia Rodriquez, a sophomore nursing student, lived in Habana, Cuba until 2012 when she and her family moved to the United States. Although none of her family or friends have been impacted by the storm, Rodriquez’s father will be traveling with his church to Cuba to aid a church community in the lower part of Cuba whose homes where ravaged by the storm. “[With] the church we are going to be helping, 80% of the members of the church lost their houses from the hurricane,” said Rodriguez.
Lidania Cerda, a sophomore art and illustration major, lived in the Dominican Republic until 2003, when her family moved to Bentonville so her father could pastor a church.
Cerda was unaware of the massive storm until she received text messages, photos and videos from a group of friends living in the cities of Santiago and San Pedro in the Dominican Republic. Cerda had difficulty differentiating between the two cities in the photos because of the heavy rainfall.
“All the pictures look the same,” Cerda said. “Lots of rain and lot of people riding in boats and getting to places by boats.”
Currently, Cerda’s friends and her grandparents are safe. In the midst of the devastation in the Caribbean, Cerda said this is a time for prayer for the individuals who lost homes and loved ones.