In the face of destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, Christian aid groups have come to provide relief to those affected by the hurricane both in Haiti and in the southeastern states of the United States.
In Haiti, the Category Four storm, with winds of up to 145 miles per hour has killed 400 people, according to a Reuters estimate. Officials say at least 20,000 homes have been destroyed, according to New York Times, after the hurricane ripped through the country on Tuesday, October 7. Those living along the southern coast of Haiti in fishing villages have severely been affected.
Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization, sent a team in an emergency response with 40 tons of supplies to Haiti, which includes 20 tons of water filters, hygiene kits, and blankets. They have staff on the ground who will distribute those supplies to 5,000 households.
“Our teams are on the ground helping in Jesus’ Name. They’re going to do all they can to meet the needs of the suffering people there. Please pray for the people of Haiti as they recover from this deadly storm,” said president of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, in a statement.
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian aid organization, had staff in Haiti distribute supplies immediately after the wind and rain abated.
National Director of World Vision John Hasse says in a statement, “There are areas where people haven’t eaten much or had access to clean water in days.”
According to Christian Today, Hurricane Matthew is the first major hurricane to possibly directly hit the U.S. in over a decade. In light of that, states of emergency have been declared in southeastern states like Florida, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.
Over 1,000 mobile units and 65,000 trained volunteers from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) are equipped to provide food and other necessities. According to the North American Mission Board, “SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.”
Kellie Van Gilder, an author at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, asked for prayers for the first responders.
"Many of them, their homes have been damaged as well, but they’re still on the job," said Van Gilder. "It has been our experience over the years that they still serve and protect, and we certainly want to seek out how we can help them as well.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is sending crisis-trained chaplains to offer emotional and spiritual support to those affected by the hurricane in Florida.
As of October 7, two million people have been warned to flee by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, according to the Herald Tribune.
"Don't take a chance. Time is running out. This is clearly going to either have a direct hit or come right along our coast and we're going to have hurricane-force winds. There are no excuses. You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,” he said on Thursday at the state Emergency Operations Center.