We could already begin to see the damage on the road to Okay (Cayes). Starting at the town of Aken (Aquin) and all the way to Okay, trees lay uprooted on the side of the road. The trees that hadn’t fallen seemed burned because of their lack of leaves and branches, and the majority of the houses were completely flattened or greatly damaged.
In the city of Okay (Cayes) itself, many houses were damaged, and the roof of the cathedral was blown off. We were left speechless by the extent of the damage. Just three weeks before Hurricane Matthew blew in at 240km per hour and ravaged the South, Grand’Anse, Nippes and Northwest, causing widespread destruction and damage.
And the hopeful glimmer we noticed as we toured the aftermath is people’s courage and strength despite the devastation. This was what we witness as we staff and board of the Lambi Fund of Haiti toured the region. The Lambi Fund has a long history of building sustainability, reforestation and supporting micro-credit development in the region.
We met over 50 members of 24 separate organizations we partner with in the region and people were happy to see us. They said that they knew the Lambi Fund would not abandon them in the terrible situation they were in, and they knew that Lambi always visited them in solidarity during difficult times. Many people recounted the losses they suffered, from family members to animals for food and fodder, the farmland that was not salvable and to the complete destruction of 20,000 trees destroyed in a few hours in the wrath of the storm.
We were broken hearted to hear about all of these losses, and when we heard directly about the suffering the members are enduring. As we become more aware of the enormous level of destruction, we are also painfully aware of the limits of our own resources, which are inadequate to support the needs expressed although we have already raised $150,000 in the past three weeks.
We noticed that our long-term relationship with the community counts on the support the Lambi Fund of Haiti brings to strengthen their own self-sufficieny. And the 1st priority is to replant the fields later this month so that a consumable harvest occurs in three months to provide local access to beans, corn and vegetables. Along with this priority is to ensure women who lost their assets through micro-credit receive funding to reignite their small businesses.
At the Lambi Fund, in order to ensure food security, time will not wait! We need to raise $400,000 by November 10, 2016 for this critical endeavor now as we return to Haiti on November 15, 2016! We thank you for your donation today.