Members of The United Church of Canada responded generously to the Hurricane Matthew emergency appeal, launched last fall after powerful winds and torrential rain washed away fields, livestock, livelihoods, and homes in Haiti. More than $184,000 was donated and that money was divided among three partners: the Methodist Church in Haiti, the Institut Culturel Karl Lévêque (ICKL), an education and development agency and long-time partner; and ACT International, an ecumenical emergency and development coalition.

On a trip to Haiti in February, I visited three villages in the area around Les Cayes to see how the financial support to ICKL has been used in the region that was hit hard by the massive storm. Women and men walked over rough rock strewn mountain roads for up to two hours to tell me about their experience of the hurricane. Everywhere the story was the same: in the first desperate weeks after the storm ICKL was the only organization to reach their communities with food aid, medical kits, anti-cholera serum, and seeds. 

ICKL trucked much-needed food over nearly impassable roads to communities where people had gone for days without anything to eat, or shelter from the heavy rain. Food was distributed to groups associated with the agency as well as the wider community. ICKL staff member Guy Numa forded a river up to his neck in water and rode a motorcycle across boulders and rocks to reach communities just days after the hurricane. Numa continues to travel the torturous roads to meet with farmers as they struggle to re-establish their livelihoods and feed their families.

In addition to this work, the Methodist Church in Haiti and ACT Alliance used the money given to them from the emergency appeal to distribute water purification tablets to help prevent cholera. Donations given to ACT Alliance have also helped local partners on the ground rebuild 60 houses in the Les Cayes area, repair roofs to homes, schools, churches, and a community centre.

Your contributions to Mission & Service and to our Hurricane Matthew Appeal allow the United Church to provide ongoing support to our partners in Haiti who remain concerned about food security in the region most impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

-Kristine Greenaway works at the General Council office in Toronto and is responsible for Ministries in French.