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As Floridians brace for Hurricane Matthew, and our thoughts and prayers are with them, the people of Haiti are already grappling with the storm's devastating impact.
In fact, with Hurricane Matthew, Haiti — the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and one of the world's most impoverished countries — has experienced its biggest humanitarian disaster since the 2010 earthquake.
JDC, in a Jewish response to this crisis, is working with partners on the ground to deliver critical medical relief to the hardest-hit regions.
When Matthew, then a Category 4 Hurricane with 145 mph winds and 50-foot waves, pummeled western Haiti, it disrupted cell communications and caused major infrastructure damage to key bridges, airports, and roads.
About 500 deaths have been reported so far, with more than 300 in the hardest-hit towns and fishing villages on the southern coast in Haiti's Sud province. Thirty thousand homes have been destroyed, with scores of
thousands losing their livelihoods; the United Nations reports that 350,000 Haitians are in need of assistance.
Our medical assistance is especially critical, given severe food shortages and fears of outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera. That medical relief to the worst-hit areas is happening together with and through our
longstanding partner Heart to Heart International, which has three medical teams on the ground in Sud province.
A fourth medical team is being dispatched today to Fondwa, a small community village in the 10th Rural Section of Leogane in the Western Department of Haiti. JDC has a history of working in Fondwa – we built a
school and implemented livelihood projects there in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
Six years ago, JDC was on the ground in Haiti within hours of the deadly earthquake that impacted three million Haitians. Since then, JDC has provided sustenance, medical treatment, psychosocial support, job
training, and education for more than 400,000 among the country's recovering population.