“Apocalyptic,” was how one local, a former prime minister of Haiti, described the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew last October. Thousands of cobbled-together homes of the poor went up against 145 mph winds, and lost—roofs were blown off cement-block homes; most other homes simply disappeared. Over 30 inches of rain and a storm surge up to 15 feet high added to the destruction.
A local farmer made this grim assessment: “I don’t have anything… I have no house. I don’t have any garden… All my animals died. Goats, sheep, pigs—all died.”
In all the world, Haiti is one of the nations least capable of bouncing back from a killer storm of such magnitude. Indeed, this Caribbean nation has never fully recovered from the deadly 2010 earthquake.
But despite dire circumstances, the people of God rallied together and made a coordinated effort to bring aid to the victims; among them was the Disaster Relief Ministry of Heaven’s Family.
We helped about 1,200 desperate Haitian survivors receive food, medicine, and safe water, but much of our aid went to recovery—two wells were dug to provide additional sources of drinking water, and 4,500 corrugated metal sheets were given to restore roofs and walls, providing much-needed shelter. Almost 400 Haitians also received the spoken gospel, and several put their faith in Christ, including a former voodoo priest.
The Disaster Relief Ministry also came to the aid of hurricane victims in Baracoa, a city on the east coast of Cuba that also faced the malevolence of Matthew. Heaven’s Family provided 650 corrugated metal roofing sheets, 1,070 similar sheets made from less-expensive fiberglass, 360 bags of concrete and 5 mattresses, along with vital food supplies for about 65 families. In addition, a powerful chainsaw was purchased in the US and brought to Cuba to help cut fallen trees and provide lumber for home repairs.
Cuba, a communist nation, did not receive the outpouring of aid experienced by Haiti, so our efforts were even more deeply felt there—and the demonstration of God’s love from His people provided a powerful contrast to the government’s atheistic propaganda.
Most of 2016 was a relatively quiet year for natural disasters, so we’re very thankful for the many compassionate donors who made our efforts in Jesus’ name possible in Haiti and Cuba. We thank them for bringing hope to those who had none.