***UPDATE (Oct. 6)***
We have received word from our campus director that Hurricane Matthew has passed with minimal flooding and damage to the campus in Hinche. Our boys did not have to evacuate their campus (which is the one closest to the river and thus most susceptible to flooding). They were all smiles and took a few photos, which help reassure that they are indeed okay!
We are so grateful that we avoided the worst of the Hurricane in the Central Plateau. But we are not in the clear yet. There is still a very real concern of a post-hurricane cholera outbreak. After the 2010 earthquake, more than 6,000 Haitians died from the water-borne disease, with another 470,000 cases reported.
Our wellness clinic will become very important as Cholera outbreaks are usual after this type of event. As well as we will be preparing to accept additional children as needs are assessed. Donations can be sent by check or made online here – www.mfofoundation.org/donations
Sadly, although we are grateful that we avoided the path of the storm’s destruction, much of Haiti was not as fortunate. The southern part of Haiti, on the western peninsula, appears to have gotten hit the hardest and the main road leading to this region was badly devastated by the storm so accurate information is still being compiled. According to the United Nations, the disaster has affected 350,000 Haitians and left the country facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake six years ago.
We appreciate your continued support during this scary time.
“I’m here but my heart is in Haiti” – Jean Rene Clerveaux, expressing why this is a bittersweet time for him.
Read the 13 News Now story HERE.
Jean Rene just graduated from Tidewater Community College with an associate’s degree in social science. His education was sponsored by the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation. He grew up in the orphanage, where he lived through other natural disasters like the massive earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Ike. He is truly a success story and we are so proud of him. We are hopeful that he is able to return to his home and his family soon!
Haitian interim President Jocelerme Privert warned Haitians on Sunday, October 2nd to make preparations for Hurricane Matthew, which no longer threatened just the southern peninsula, but all of Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4th. There are dozens of reports of flooded towns, power outages, destroyed homes, livestock washed away and crops ruined, according to Haiti Libre.
Ryan Kenrick, President and Chairman of the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation, spoke with ABC 13 News Now to share how the organization was preparing for the storm in a video interview which can be found here.
Maison Fortuné founder, Jean-Louis Lefort reports: “It is raining but so far everything is staying within the river banks. The wind was worse overnight and isn’t as bad right now. All the kids are doing fine – they appreciate the outpouring of support and love and we will continue to keep everyone updated.”
This is not the first time that Haiti has been hit by a devastating hurricane. In 2008, Haiti was hit by 3 strong hurricanes, including Hurricane Ike which flooded the boys’ campus. This was the first time our staff had experienced a hurricane at that campus location. Our boys campus is located on the banks of the Guayamouco River. No one predicted that much rainfall in 2008 and the flooding came on quickly.
Fortunately, we are much better prepared now. Jean-Louis was able to return to Haiti on Saturday. We’ve been in constant contact with him. Infrastructure has been secured and arrangements for the boys to temporarily relocate to our girls campus are in place. We have moved our food stores to higher ground on both campuses and we are moving our smaller boys from the three back houses to the second story of the school building. The schools in Haiti are closed as well.
Now we wait and see how it all develops. Thankfully, we are not on the coastline so we will hopefully be spared the worst. We greatly appreciate the concern and support sent our way during this worrisome time. We will continue to keep our community of supporters updated.