Hurricane Matthew, the strongest Atlantic storm in nearly a decade, continued charting its northward course Monday, threatening the Caribbean nations in its path with gale-force winds and extreme rainfall.
With the U.S. National Hurricane Center anticipating winds as high as 160 mph and forecasters warning of heavy rain, Matthew could prove devastating as it makes landfall Monday in eastern Jamaica and southwestern Haiti.
National disaster authorities, residents in Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, and Direct Relief staff on the ground continue to prepare for the impact of the category 4 hurricane.
Jamaica and Haiti were expected to start experiencing hurricane-force winds Monday, and the hurricane’s slow forward movement is cause for additional concern. That is because communities impacted on the ground will be subjected to the hurricane-force winds and torrential rain for a longer period.
— SBHF (@StBonifaceHaiti) October 3, 2016
This drastically increases the risk of severe flooding and mudslides as well as the likelihood of damage to shelter and infrastructure – predictions indicate that southern Haiti around Jeremie and Les Cayes may experience up to 40 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
Cuba, the Bahamas, and Miami also fall within Matthew’s projected path, though landfall is expected in the following days.
Direct Relief’s Response
Direct Relief is in regular contact with local partners and health officials throughout the Caribbean, having delivered more than $100 million in essential medicines and supplies to the region in 2016. This includes the strategic pre-positioning of emergency medical modules at healthcare facilities in areas of extreme hurricane risk.
Three of these modules are stationed with partners in Jamaica and Haiti in Matthew’s projected path.
Direct Relief runs the largest hurricane preparedness medical supply program in the world to help prepare its healthcare partners for an event like Hurricane Matthew. Modules filled with enough emergency medicines and medical supplies to treat up to 5,000 people for a month have been pre-positioned with healthcare facilities along Matthew’s projected path. These kits allow care providers to address a variety of conditions, from basic trauma injuries to chronic illnesses, for a one-month period, during which follow-on support can be mobilized.
Currently, there are two modules in Haiti and one in Jamaica, and additional modules are prepositioned in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua. Multiple modules are also stationed with health facilities along the south and east coasts of the United States.
Direct Relief also maintains pre-packed and ready-to-ship emergency health kits that contain the essential emergency medicines and medical supplies needed by a health facility or medical team to treat 1,000 people. Additionally, Direct Relief can deploy emergency medical tents that can be used for the provision of medical care inside when other facilities have been damaged or destroyed.
Since the earthquake in 2010, Direct Relief has been the largest private provider of medical aid into Haiti and has supported over 200 medical facilities with donations of specifically requested items totaling $240 million wholesale.
Due to the need that still exists, Direct Relief continues to have staff based in Haiti and operates a medical supply depot to facilitate the receipt and onward distribution of essential medical products to the facilities. Direct Relief has recently sent Zika modules and cholera kits to help address those ongoing crises as well.
Direct Relief has provided $26 million wholesale to 15 healthcare facilities in Jamaica over the same time period and is also actively involved in a Zika Response there.
As Hurricane Matthew tracks northwards, Direct Relief is maintaining close communication with our partners in Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, and stand ready to dispatch additional emergency supplies and funds as needed.
Policy Regarding Hurricane Matthew Donations
People who would like to contribute to Direct Relief’s Hurricane Matthew response can do so by visiting Direct Relief’s donation page and directing their donation to “Hurricane Matthew.”
As with other large-scale emergencies, Direct Relief will use all contributions designated for Hurricane Matthew solely for relief and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Matthew.
No portion of any contribution for Hurricane Matthew will be used for fundraising purposes. A bequest pays 100% of Direct Relief’s fundraising expenses.