‘Nothing Left To Live On,’ Haitians Struggle To Survive Following Hurricane Matthew Devastation

As survivors share, the sounds of the wind on Monday night were like engines roaring with tremendous strength. The powerful gusts uprooted massive palm trees and sent them flying into the cinder block shacks that surrounded them. Gusts during the powerful and deadly hurricane, which ripped through the nation of Haiti, reached 145 mph. Those who lost their lives, nearly 1000, mainly died from the debris which flew about due to the powerful force.

Hermosante Fedna, an 85-year-old Haitian who survived the storm, shares that when the wind shook the walls of her home and the floodwaters reached her knees, her son carried her to the church until the storm was over. She and her husband, Tophal Sintable, had raised seven children in the home that they built themselves. Tiophal had grown rice and cassava in the green fields behind them and sold them in the market.

Fedna’s house was destroyed, and her husband, who had fled to seek shelter at a different building, died when the ceiling crashed down on him and pinned him in the wreckage, still holding his flashlight. Haitians all along the southern portion of the nation are attempting to carry on following the effects which that unforgettable night had on them. The destruction was like nothing they had ever seen, seeing as the southern peninsula was spared from the devastation of the 2010 earthquake which plagued Haiti. The blow dealt by Hurricane Matthew on Monday night was ferocious and flattened thousands of schools, homes and churches, destroying crops and trees, while also sweeping away livestock and other farm animals.

Fedna spoke on Friday about the aftermath of the storm. The Washington Post relays her heartbreaking words spoken as tears streamed down her cheeks.

“This is the worst thing to ever happen to our town.”

The publication notes the death toll that has been reported in regard to the storm, yet the toll continues to rise as remote areas are finally contacted and more dead are discovered.

“Hurricane Matthew has killed at least 300 people in Haiti, according to the national government, but the figure was sure to rise as aid teams reached areas cut off by washed-out bridges or fallen trees. A Reuters tally from local and national officials put the death count at more than 800. The town of Chantal and its surroundings are among the worst hit, with 106 confirmed dead.”

The United Nations have described the storm’s impact as the worst humanitarian crisis in the country since the 2010 earthquake which killed roughly 200,000 people. Natives share that people were killed due to being struck by trees or collapsing roofs. Others disappeared after being swept away in the floodwaters.

“This is killing us,” said Fedna, weeping quietly. “There is nothing left to live on. Our trees and our crops are gone.”

Those who have survived are in dire need of assistance. The U.N. shares that more than 350,000 of the 1.5 million people who live in the area that was affected by the hurricane, are in need of help. Aid organizations fear that cholera, which is a deadly disease that is spread by contaminated water, will continue to decimate the remaining, and very vulnerable, population. There have already been new cases reported at local clinics.

Three days following the point when the storm tore through Haiti, thousands of Haitians remained helpless without power, any communication abilities, or clean water. The storm continued on its destructive path through the Caribbean and made landfall in Florida on Friday.

In the capital of Jeremie, 80 percent of buildings were destroyed. Holly Frew, a spokesperson for CARE, which is an aid group, spoke of the inaccessibility to the area.

“The western area ‘is pretty much still cut off’ and many communities are accessible only by motorbike, she said.’ As information begins to come in from the west, we’ll continue to see the death toll rise,’ Frew said from Jacmel on the southern coast. ‘Over in the southwest, it’s utter despair.'”

[Feature Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]