PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Connecticut nonprofit was able to confirm Monday that all 184 members of its volunteers in Haiti are safe and accounted for.
Communication systems for the Haitian Health Foundation were knocked down by Hurricane Matthew and had been out for four days.
Nadesha Mijoba, the organization’s national director in Haiti, survived the storm on the island. She described the scene as something out of a movie.
“Those scenes after a bomb and maybe two palm trees still standing with barely two leaves hanging? That is what it looked like,” she said.
In the town of Jeremie, where Mijoba and the charity is based, about 80 percent of buildings are damaged or destroyed.
Until HHF Executive Director Marilyn Lowney got another charity in Haiti to lend them a satellite phone, Mijoba and other staff had no way of telling their families back home that they were safe.
“Even when I did find out, it was another whole day for me to find out all our safe were safe,” said Lowney.
Those staff members are now busy delivering food, water and medicine to those in need.
Mijoba said the clinic they work out of was damaged, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeing patients.
“Terrible cuts on people’s hands, face, chest from the tin flying. We’ve seen horrible infections, and the hospital is overwhelmed with cholera patients right now,” said Mijoba.
Even though the storm destroyed most of the staff members’ homes, they just keep coming to work.
“Our staff has been absolutely incredible,” Lowney said. “I don’t have words to describe how proud I am.”
The Haitian Health Foundation was founded decades ago by an orthodontist from Fall River.