By Leah Hope, abc7chicago.com
In Haiti, more than 500 people are dead following Hurricane Matthew’s devastation.
The relief effort is falling short of meeting the needs of those affected by the storm. Here in Chicago, seeing the devastation from a distance is difficult.
“Very, very hard. And sometimes we wonder what can we do?” said Elma Jean-Pierre Jean, Haitian Catholic Mission.
The Haitian Catholic Mission out of Our Lady of Peace Parish is already preparing ways to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew. Jean-Pierre Jean, herself Haitian-American, said they will start by sending money.
“Right now, I told them the best thing to do right away is send some money so they can at least buy some food or drink. But as far as the other stuff, we can send later,” Jean-Pierre Jean said.
Some from our area are already in Haiti to assist, and it seems the need is overwhelming.
“People have lost their homes, their animals, their clothes, everything. They are in urgent need of whatever they can get,” said Lophane Laurent, Haiti 99.
“We have little ones who have not eaten or drink in two or three days. So, the very, very basics of life, are just in jeopardy. The problem is not so much that they aren’t available here, it’s getting them to the places they need to be,” said Helen Roenfeldt, of Trinity Hope.
Volunteers who spoke by phone with ABC7 on Tuesday said it is a struggle to get people the basics.
“We’re doing an assessment of where best to bring food in and give aid,” said Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities.
“We haven’t been able to get into the worst hit areas yet, because even the government helicopters are not able to get into the hardest hit areas,” Roenfeldt said.
Many of the members of Our Lady of Peace are from a town called Jeremie. It is an area that is isolated, so transportation and information is scarce.
Not knowing how bad the conditions are, locally the Haitian Catholic Mission is packing supplies that will eventually go to the survivors.
For more information on how to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew, click here.