As Category 4 Hurricane Matthew, some 400 miles wide, sweeps across the Caribbean toward the U.S. Atlantic Coast, it is making history but not for good.
Experts say when it hit the southern coast of Haiti on October 4, it was the strongest storm to make landfall there in 52 years. Now, amid this crisis, Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) is coordinating response efforts on the ground in Haiti and reaching out to victims of this historic storm.
A Foursquare orphanage and school caring for 46 children, located on the southwestern tip of Haiti in the isolated town of Jeremie, was hit by the eye of Hurricane Matthew. So far, all forms of communication in and out of Jeremie are down, and we cannot confirm the safety of our workers or the children they serve. And, we are praying.
The local Foursquare church in nearby Les Cayes lost its building in the storm. Also, 90 percent of homes in the town lost their roofs, leaving them fully exposed to rain and wind. Senior Pastor Leoncetene “Gerald” Joseph has confirmed that members of the Les Cayes Foursquare congregation are safe, although nearly everyone in the community is in a government shelter.
Foursquare Haiti National Leader Jean Erius Bellande in Port-au-Prince confirmed that he and people in his congregation are safe. He says the church and orphanage in Port-au-Prince did not sustain damage. Jean Erius is busy coordinating disaster relief efforts for Les Cayes and Jeremie once communication can be fully restored and roads reopen so work crews can make their way into the hardest hit areas.
Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR) International Operations Chief Chad Isenhart says FDR is delivering 275,000 meals with a partner organization to Port-au-Prince so that Jean Erius and fellow Haitian pastors can reach out to survivors of the storm.
Mike Van Proyen, senior pastor at King’s Way (Sequim West Foursquare Church) in Sequim, Wash., and Joe Bulman, senior pastor at Church On The Rock (Gig Harbor Foursquare Church), Gig Harbor, Wash., were in Haiti when Hurricane Matthew made landfall. They immediately initiated coordinated response with Jean Erius and FDR.
Now, Hurricane Matthew is on the move toward the U.S. Atlantic Coast, threatening parts of the region that have not experienced a storm this strong in nearly 140 years.
Southeast District Supervisor Bill Gross and local church pastors are mindful and prepared to respond to needs as the destructive storm spins toward our shores. Jay Donnelly, FDR’s director of U.S. operations, says 30 FDR-trained Foursquare first responders in the Southeast have been put on alert about possible deployments throughout the area as the growing threat intensifies.
Foursquare Disaster Relief needs your help to reach out to people in the Caribbean and in the U.S. as Hurricane Matthew continues its destructive course.
First and foremost, pray for the safety of residents who are evacuating and seeking shelter from the storm. Then, donate now to FDR so we can respond immediately in Haiti and be ready to respond in the U.S. as needs arise.
- Pray that Hurricane Matthew will dissipate and turn out to sea.
- Pray for God’s protection and comfort for people in affected areas.
- Pray for first responders and their efforts to save lives.
- Pray for provision and resources so pastors and FDR workers can help.
Editor’s Note: FDR has since received word that our Foursquare workers and children in Jeremie, Haiti, survived Hurricane Matthew. They experienced much damage to their orphanage building. Foursquare Disaster Relief is helping them rebuild and recover. Continued prayers and support are appreciated.