BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s been one month since Hurricane Matthew tore through parts of Haiti.
According to the United Nations at least 800 thousand people need food urgently. Including more than two-thirds of families in the worst-hit areas.
Emergency help is arriving, but there is not enough of it, and it will take several more weeks to reach remote mountain communities where officials say the destruction was total.
Nick Stroczkowski said, “I’m always impressed with the Haitians ability to always create a new normal all the time.”
Stroczkowski and Katie Braisted with the Western New York Impact Foundation return from a two week trip to Haiti.
The October hurricane hit some of the poorest places in the western hemisphere. But for their friends there, everyone was safe.
Stroczkowski said, “We did see a pretty good amount of destruction but the clean up was already done so fast.”
Relief groups say the hardest hit areas will need months of emergency aid to fight famine. Stroczkowski said, “They’re good at adjusting. They’re good at being hungry. They’re good at not having adequate care, us folks are not good at that.”
Braisted and two other doctors performed daily health clinics. They saw mainly non hurricane related injuries, which was a surprise for Braisted.
She said, “We were expecting acute injuries, we were expecting cholera, we were expecting a different type of clinic. And thankfully it was not that.”
Now the Western New York Impact Foundation has big plans for change. They want to raise money to build a medical clinic on the island of Ile-La-Vache.
She said, “To have a place that people can go to, and have a structure, and for people to even know that’s a possibility, that there’s care they otherwise wouldn’t get is huge.”
In the wake of the hurricane, Braisted and Stroczkowski take home with them a lesson. Stroczkowski said, “The biggest thing we noticed, was the resiliency of the people of Haiti, a hurricane can come in, destroy everything and they clean it up and go on like it’s a normal day. Haitians have taught me what it looks like to love, and what it looks like to be in a truly accessible and open community.”
If you’d like more information on the Western New York Impact Foundation, visit their website here.