MAY 15, 2017
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Hurricane Matthew, considered the worst storm to hit Haiti in over half a century, battered the nation on October 4, 2016, causing devastation not seen there since the earthquake of 2010. As reported in the jw.org Newsroom on October 24, 2016, Jehovah’s Witnesses responded initially with provisions of food, medicine, and tents. After thoroughly assessing the damage, on January 1, 2017, the Witnesses initiated a second phase of the relief work, which includes using three disaster relief committees to supervise 14 construction teams that have begun extensive repairs on some 203 damaged and destroyed homes. The Witnesses’ relief efforts are scheduled to finish in June 2017.
Daniel Lainé, spokesman for the Witnesses’ national headquarters in Port-au-Prince, states: “The objective of this project is to provide adequate housing for all of our fellow worshippers whose homes were severely affected by the storm.” Achieving this goal has not been easy. Mr. Lainé explains that damaged communication and road infrastructure has “made it difficult to accomplish our relief work.” As of April 20, work has been completed on 96 homes and another 30 are underway.
Local officials have acknowledged the Witnesses’ efforts. Smith Mathurin, a deputy representative in Parliament for the hard-hit communes of Paillant and Petite Rivière de Nippes, states: “Even though the principal goal of Jehovah’s Witnesses is to spread the good news, they have also given practical assistance to those in need.” He adds: “I appreciate the big contribution that Jehovah’s Witnesses have given after Hurricane Matthew. An intervention was necessary, and you did not just stay inside your church.”
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses facilitates disaster relief efforts from their world headquarters located in Warwick, New York, using funds donated to the Witnesses’ global Bible education work.
International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000
Haiti: Daniel Lainé, +509-2813-1560