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Hurricane Matthew hits Caribbean, keeps moving

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Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, has been moving north through the Caribbean, bearing down on southern Haiti Monday night, dumping heavy rains in Jamaica, and then pushing across the eastern tip of Cuba. Residents of the Bahamas, as well as residents of eastern Florida and U.S. states along the coast up through North Carolina, are bracing for the storm, and hundreds of thousands of people are evacuating.

The storm, which is the strongest in the region in almost 10 years, brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. The hurricane was so large that tropical storm-force winds were affecting areas as far as 185 miles away. Across the Caribbean, 25 are reported dead, though the number is expected to rise. Exact numbers are impossible to confirm due to limited communications, blocked roads, and washed-out bridges.

In Haiti, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and many homes have been destroyed or damaged. Widespread flooding has also destroyed crops. Assessments are still underway, but this will take time due to a bridge collapse that has effectively cut off southern Haiti from the capital, Port-au-Prince. Officials are attempting to find an alternate route to allow aid to the area.

The Church of the Nazarene in Haiti comprises 11 districts and more than 500 local churches. Four districts are in the southern peninsula and the island of La Gonave, which were directly affected by the hurricane.

Many of the houses in Haiti are fragile constructions of wood or concrete blocks, and some residents still live in tents and makeshift dwellings as an aftereffect of the earthquake in 2010. The country is also vulnerable because extreme deforestation makes the hilly landscape susceptible to landslides and flash flooding.

Floodwaters and a lack of clean water sources are expected to bring a second disaster to Haiti: a potential cholera outbreak. A cholera epidemic ravaged the country following the earthquake.

Urgent needs in Haiti include water filters, food, shelter, and blankets. The Church of the Nazarene in Haiti is working to distribute a few hundred crisis care kits already on hand to provide for sanitation necessities, and the church also has a couple hundred tents and tarps available for distribution. Leaders are currently doing assessments to determine areas of greatest need.

Assessments are still underway to determine damage in Cuba and Jamaica and how Nazarene church communities have been affected.

Church leaders are requesting prayer for families and individuals who have been affected by Hurricane Matthew.


How to help

Pray

Please pray for those grieving the loss of loved ones. Pray for those who lost their homes and have no means to rebuild. Pray for protection of lives, especially from cholera. Pray for vulnerable children and senior adults. Pray that people would know God’s comfort and peace. And pray for churches working to care for their neighbors and meet urgent needs.

Give

Churches and individuals around the world can provide support through the Hurricane Matthew Response Fund. Donations will be used for immediate needs, as well as long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.

To send donations by mail:

In the U.S., make checks payable to “General Treasurer” and send them to:

Global Treasury Services
Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

Be sure to put ACM1198/F135 in the Memo area.

In Canada, make checks payable to “Church of the Nazarene Canada” and send them to:

Church of the Nazarene Canada
20 Regan Road, Unit 9
Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3

Be sure to put ACM1198/F135 in the Memo area.

For any other country, give through your local church or district, designating your gift to Hurricane Matthew Response.

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