HURRICAINE UPDATE 10/15/16:
Matthew passed directly over Ile a Vache and Cayes, as a Category 4 moving slowly north – subjecting the mainly low-lying island to 230km/hr of winds over more than 9 hours, plus 14" of rain. All local subsistence farmers have lost have lost their field and tree crops and most fruit trees are down or badly broken. Several beach and salt-flat areas were flooded, with the houses submerged to three feet. Probably 30 percent of houses lost complete roofs, walls or both, and almost all lost some roofing tin. Much livestock was killed and is miraculous that no human beings were killed in our area. The main damage is definitely crops – meaning that food supplies will be very low for at least six months, even where houses and schools can be repaired in short order. The reefs are also affected and fish are in short supply, especially conch.
We have some repairs to make in our school's kitchen roof and 1st grade classrooms (the 2 buildings with tin roofing), and our trading boat Fu Fei. The island's roads and paths are nearly impassable mud with trees across them. As of one week later: With some email and phone connections reestablished we are the ONLY school and school kitchen reopened, we've been able to continue classes including Robin Bolton's swimming course which was the reason for our trip (ultimate goal is to teach all the island children to swim), we've repaired the school roofs, housed several dozen people short-term, supplied heavy tools such as picks, shovels, axes and wheelbarrows to the three villages' civil protection crews to clear the roads and debris, coordinated 3 airdrops and are working on another for obtaining water filtration equipment. Zero cholera cases on the island to date, and we've stockpiled Clorox and medicines, rice, sugar etc.
GSF donors have already covered the cost of a large truckload of roofing tin and I believe we're the only organization to be in that position, we'll be re-roofing the houses of the most vulnerable, elderly and handicapped and their families very soon, supplying tin, nails and cement as fast as possible, with volunteer labor. Our agrimony program is stepping up, restocking the chicken houses and increasing rabbit production, plant nurseries and tree seedlings, in concert with other organizations her in Haiti, such as Haven Ireland whose staff we met today.