RI woman helps deliver baby during hurricane in Haiti

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The country of Haiti was still recovering from the 2010 earthquake when Hurricane Matthew struck, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction.

The hurricane decimated countless homes and structures and destroyed the United Nations base. Nearly 300 residents are confirmed dead as a result of the powerful storm, but officials say that number will likely increase once they receive reports from the more remote parts of the country.

“It’s going to shoot well over 1,000 by the end of the weekend, I believe,” said Julie Manfred of Westerly. “You add to that the standing water, the cholera is going to become at threat again and what it did after the earthquake, it wiped out 10,000 people, and there’s a danger of that as well.”

Manfred was there to experience Matthew’s wrath as she rode out the torrential rains and devastating winds at an orphanage in Port au Prince, where she was delivering formula.

“I know they’re safe, I know they’re in good hands, but as a human being, it just feels on so many levels, so wrong to leave those people there suffering and come back and see people working around like everything is fine,” Manfred said on Friday.

Manfred arrived back home late Wednesday night after spending nearly a week stuck in Haiti.

She even helped a young mother deliver a baby while the hurricane roared outside.

“That kind of added a little joy to the atmosphere,” she recalled.

Even though Manfred is back home with her eight children, her thoughts are still with the people of the storm-ravaged island. She’s now selling t-shirts to benefit the storm relief there.

“I’m selling them for $10 and I’m hoping to sell hundreds, if not thousands, and all of that money will go directly to the kids,” Manfred explained.

President Barack Obama is urging people to donate to the American Red Cross and other philanthropic organizations to help the impoverished country.

Click here to donate to the American Red Cross. New Bridges for Haitian Success – a group based in Providence – is also gathering donations for the country.