Hurricane Matthew Strikes
On October 4th a devastating hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph and gusts of over 140 mph struck the southern part of Haiti. In some places, up to forty inches of rain swelled rivers and streams into raging torrents washing out roads, bridges, and homes. Hunger, lack of shelter, and now a resurgence of cholera are the legacies of this tragic storm.
Carcasse is a rural community of about 5,000 on the southwestern coast of Haiti. Most people earn their living through subsistence farming and fishing and live in small mud-floored shacks with thatch or metal roofs. Their church was situated a mere sixty feet from the water's edge.
In one long and terrifying day, Hurricane Matthew destroyed their church, the second floor of the school, solar panels, most of the coffee trees, crops, farm animals, and fishing boats. An estimated ninety percent of house roofs were blown off, and many houses were completely destroyed. The community is left without shelter and without an ability to feed itself.
Emergency aid raised by St Mary's and our many supporters is the only aid to reach Carcasse in the two months following the hurricane. Lee Bristol (Beallsville, MD), CEO of Global Solace, is planning to replace the solar panels destroyed by the hurricane. The other components of the solar power grid and the computer lab (also supplied by Global Solace) survived the storm. The lower level of the school was cleaned up and classes resumed on Monday, November 7.
Long-term plans will be made for the construction of a new church on the more protected school and rectory property. Repairs will also need to be made to the school and support given to the farmers and fisherman who drive the local economy. If you would like to help support these efforts, donations may be made by check payable to:
PO Box 67
Barnesville, MD 20838
or by PayPal on St Mary's web site. One hundred percent of your donations are used to help the people we serve in Haiti.
International Aid Arrives - Finally
International aid arrived in Carcasse on December 17 more than two months following Hurricane Matthew=s arrival on October 4. ACTED a contractor for the World Food Program (WFP) cited logistical difficulties as the reason for the delay.
Just Haiti and St Mary's announce replanting grant
On December 28, 2016 Just Haiti and St Mary's Catholic Church announced a joint grant to help Carcasse coffee association APCCA replant after the devastating earthquake of October 4, 2016.
The grant will consist of coffee tree and cover tree seedlings and seeds to be raised in APCCA's nursery. The cover trees are necessary as Arabica coffee trees are grown in the shade. The cover trees will consist of local fruit and fast growing trees. Coffee trees not only provide income for farmers but also stabilize the land as shade trees become more valuable for their shade than as a fuel source.