When Hurricane Sandy hit the island nation of Haiti on Oct. 24, it took the lives of more than 50 people, destroyed more than 6,000 homes, and damaged another 21,000 homes. According to the U.N., nearly 2 million Haitians were affected by the storm, which made landfall on the island nation as a category 1 hurricane before spiraling through the Atlantic and slamming into the East Coast of the U.S. on Oct. 29.
As families braced for the hurricane in Southern Haiti, a struggling farmer named Mr. Maxi did all he could to protect his home in the rural village of Marc-Cavaillon. He feared for the safety of his wife and two sons as fierce winds and torrential rains battered their home. Their lives were spared, he believes, by God and a few trees on their property as their home collapsed during the storm.
“We were so sad to see all that we possessed disappear in a brief moment,” he said.
The family gathered up the scraps of metal and wood from their home and pieced together the one-room shelter you see in this photo, which is where they’re living, “while waiting for God’s help,” Mr. Maxi said. The family is supported by his crops, but his income is barely enough to survive. His two children are not able to attend school, and can only write their names, he said.
Help has arrived for this family and others in Marc-Cavaillon and surrounding villages. The Maxi family will soon have a new home. Because of the remote location of this village, families here say they never receive any government assistance, even after major catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy. Residents said they consider World Concern’s help a “response from heaven.”
We are working to repair or rebuild more homes damaged by the storm in this area. We’re also giving families small cash grants to buy food, restart businesses, and get back on their feet earning income again.
Helping U.S. families recover
In the U.S., we’re working through partners who were on the ground on the East Coast within days of the storm, assessing needs, providing spiritual support, and organizing opportunities for cleanup teams. One partner your donations are helping support immediately dispatched rapid response clean up teams to communities in Northern New Jersey, such as the town of Little Ferry, which was heavily damaged by the storm surge.
As we maintain these relationships with our partners and assist with long-term recovery, we will continue to walk alongside families on the East Coast and in Haiti who lost so much. With a disaster of this magnitude, it will take time before life returns to “normal.”