Thanks to all who have expressed concerns this week for our partners in Haiti. We heard you, and we want to give you an update on the community that is home to the Haiti Coffee Academy (HCA).
This week, Hurricane Matthew struck the island with winds over 140 mph. When we heard the forecast, we got in touch with our people. We have been in close contact with them, continuously monitoring the situation. The storm has passed, but as you are seeing on your TV – there is a lot of damage. The roads are in bad shape, and food and medical supplies are not getting through yet. More than 250 people have been confirmed dead, and hundreds are missing.
Haiti is especially vulnerable to tropical storms because most of the island is deforested due to imperialist economic policies. Forty inches of rain just dropped on the hills – that means flooding, erosion, landslides, and loss of life. We are grateful that the coffee trees at the Haiti Coffee Academy held down the topsoil, though we lost some plantain trees, and the shade cover on our nursery. Our friends and farm are safe, but others weren’t so lucky, and we are scanning for ways to help the rest of the community and larger region around Thiotte.
While we wait for more news from our friends, this is what we’re doing. We have offered our offices and warehouses at the HCA as shelter, and we are working with friends whose houses were damaged to get them repaired. One of our biggest concerns is cholera. To help the community in Thiotte maintain their health, we’re continuing to fill and operate our free public water dispenser, located on the main road outside the HCA. We are also scanning for areas of need and ways to help communities maintain access to food. Transportation is key to getting food to the people and we will do what is necessary, including lending our trucks and resources, to help.
Haiti is incredibly close to our hearts, and we want to share it with you – this was the idea behind the Travel With Todd Sweepstakes. But now it is clear: we must focus our resources and support with our longtime friends and partners in southern Haiti. For this reason, we are canceling the trip.
We will keep you updated as we learn more. If you want to help today, we recommend giving to Partners In Health, an international medical organization that has been building public health systems there since 1987. Stay tuned for more news, and thank you for your support.