FLORIDA – As Hurricane Matthew completely shut down the Bahamas, Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Muslim-based non-profit group in Houston, has kicked relief efforts around the US and Haiti to help evacuees.
“There’s a three-member team,” explains Ilyas Choudry, director of programs for the group, News Fix reported on Thursday, October 6.
“One from Michigan. One from New Jersey. One from Houston. They have gone to Haiti today. They are going to provide food items, bottled water to people in shelters. They will make an assessment of what else is needed.”
He added that items will be boxed up and sent to the team from the United States.
“One other thing we definitely will need is medical doctors,” Choudry added.
“If they can volunteer with us and go out in the field, there’s an opportunity.” He asks potential volunteer physicians to call him at 832-275-0786 or reach out via their website.
“In the USA, we are a very blessed country,” Choudry says, “whatever we can, we should do it for the humanity.”
Becoming a Category 4 storm on Thursday, Hurricane Matthew completely shut down the Bahamas and approached the US coasts.
It’s now claimed 108 lives in Haiti alone, according to the Civil Protection Service. And it seems to be headed straight for Florida.
“We’re looking at a monster,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson told CNN.
“The last real monster that we had in Florida was in 1992. That was Hurricane Andrew,” he added, referring to the storm which killed 65 people and caused more than $26 billion in damage.
Perhaps that’s why Florida’s governor Rick Scott proclaimed so emphatically, “Evacuate! Evacuate! Evacuate! This is going to kill people.”
Two million people have been urged to evacuate Florida, Georgia and South Carolina’s coastal cities. But in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley says not many are listening.
“175,000 people have evacuated. That’s not enough,” she said at a press conference.
“If you are sitting at home, if you have not evacuated, gas stations are getting ready to close, pharmacies are getting ready to close. Everything is going to leave.”
“If you’re on the East Coast, you are going to lose power,” said Florida’s governor.
“Do not believe you’re not going to lose power. You are going to lose power. Millions will lose power.”
In Haiti, the disaster was much larger, after Hurricane Matthew devastated the Caribbean country with over 100 lives lost, leaving more than 15,600 displaced, and more than 350,000 needing immediate assistance.
HHRD’s Emergency Response Team is now in Haiti and a Medical Team is prepping to go to serve the victims,” the group said in a statement published on Thursday.
“After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, volunteer doctors from USA and other countries worked round the clock in HHRD rotational clinics.
“Medical Clinics in 59 different locations served more than 15,000 earthquake victims; vaccinations were provided to hundreds of men, women, & children. Over $175,000 worth of medication were administered.”
HHRD was one of the first Muslim organizations to be in Haiti, after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010.
HHRD responded by providing food, clean water, and medical assistance in the emergency phase.
HHRD continued its long term rehabilitation efforts by building a shelter village consisting of 102 permanent shelters, 338 supporting orphans, supplying clean water to neglected communities in remote areas and building a water well in the town of Miragoane.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, HHRD is doing food package distributions in Haiti containing Bottled Water, Rice, Beans, Cooking Oil, Fish Cans, Sugar, Spaghetti, and Milk,” the statement reads.
“Each Food Package is worth $50, and has food enough for a week for a family of five. After making further needs assessment, HHRD field teams from Haiti will be sending more lists of things needed to serve the victims.
“Heavy rains and flooding makes way for water borne diseases like malaria and cholera. There is immense need for assistance in Haiti as the emergency crisis situation escalates. www.HHRD.Org/Haiti”
ICNA Relief USA, an HHRD sister organization, is preparing to assist the evacuees of Hurricane Matthew in Florida, the Carolinas, and Georgia here in the United States.