U.S. Helicopters Arrive To Assist Haitians After Tragic Loss Due To Hurricane Matthew

The nation of Haiti has been hit the hardest since Hurricane Matthew tore through the impoverished country. Officials say that U.S. military have reached Haiti to provide assistance after the hurricane killed hundreds of people. The storm also tore through Nassau, Bahamas, leaving terrible destruction in its wake,

Nine U.S. military helicopters have arrived in Haiti Friday, while three others may be available from a transport ship to assist, as communicated by task force commander Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle. He also stated that there are currently around 250 U.S. troops in Haiti and another 100 are set to go in the next 24-hour period or so.

Following a flight over the area that was hit, Pringle described the damage to be “pretty extensive.” Homes and other buildings were leveled, and as shared by CBS, the main damage comes from high winds, mudslides, and flooding.

Later on Friday, officials of the United States shared that transport ship USS Mesa Verde has been dispatched to aid in the Haiti disaster. It is on route to make it to Haiti but must move out of the way of the storm while attempting to do so. The official was not given authority to share about the movement of the ship, so they remained nameless for the interview.

CBS relays the horror that the nation of Haiti is now faced with, and shares about the efforts taken by the United Nations and the United States.

“Help from the United Nations and the United States is already on the ground, but the assistance trickling into the hundreds of thousands who need it is slow. ‘There’s no water,’ said Moise David, head of the Haitian Red Cross told CBS News. ‘We can’t help the people, there’s no food.'”

Across the southwest portion of Haiti, people were rummaging through the remains of their homes on Friday, trying to salvage what little they could find of their possessions, following the passing of Hurricane Matthew which killed approximately 800 people. However, the death toll is likely much higher than this as the authorities that are conducting the on-ground assessment in the remote areas of the nation of the southwestern peninsula have not fully completed accounting for individuals.

One example of this includes a report from Saint-Victor Jeune, who is an official with the Civil Protection agency and works in Beaumont, which is in the mountains and on the outskirts of the hardest hit area of Jeremie. He reported that his team found 82 bodies that had not been recorded since the initial death toll was tallied, due to spotty communication. It was suspected that most of the 82 were killed from falling debris thrown about by the 145 mph winds.

Jeune spoke about the broken communication following the worst of the disaster.

“We don’t have any contact with Port-au-Prince yet and there are places we still haven’t reached,” Jeune said, as he and a team of Civil Protection agents in orange vests combed through the area.

Drew Garrison, a Haiti-based missionary, flew in Friday and stated that he saw several fishing villages along the coast that were submerged as well as bodies in the water. The storm devastated and left its mark all around the southwestern peninsula of Haiti. The town of Jermie is completely in ruins, with home after home having been leveled by the storm.

Garrison spoke on the sights he witnessed upon returning to the nation.

“‘Anything that wasn’t concrete was flattened,’ said Garrison, whose organization, Mission of Hope Haiti, based in Austin, Texas, was bringing in a barge loaded with emergency supplies on Saturday. ‘There were several little fishing villages that just looked desolate, no life.'”

A mother of five who has lost her home and the plot where she grew fruits and vegetables in Jeremie spoke about the fate of the town, also sharing that she and her family were very hungry and desperately in need of food.

“Jeremie might get rebuilt after I’m dead, maybe, but I doubt it.”

[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]