GREENSBORO, NC – Before heading to the U.S., Hurricane Matthew cut a path of calamity in Haiti. Thursday morning, Samaritans Purse loaded up 50,000 pounds of supplies and flew to Haiti. 10 hours later, volunteers were back on the ground in Greensboro, loading more supplies to return to Haiti with another 20 tons.
The death toll climbs in Haiti, from 108 the morning Samaritan’s Purse flew to the country to 339 by the time they returned. Samaritan's Purse reports as many as 300,000 people in southern Haiti are in immediate need of assistance.
"I don't think anyone has a true grasp of the devastation right now. It's just too soon,” said volunteer Tom Cecchettina.
Hygiene kits, water filters, blankets; life-saving relief were delivered to Southern Haiti.
Cecchettina said, "There's no cell phone coverage, the roads, and the utilities are down. So, it's going to take a few days to get around. Literally, we're probably going to have to do it by helicopter to survey the need, survey the area, survey the damage."
Samaritan's Purse volunteers in Greensboro spent the better part of a day loading and later unloading 20 tons of supplies in a country ripped apart by Matthew.
"Once it's off the airplane, we can distribute it around to all the outlying areas in need. Some of it will go by helicopter,” Cecchettina explained.
The much-needed food, first aid supplies not the only thing Samaritan's Purse brings with them.
"People in this type of situation, their homes have been damaged, their lives have been upset. We try to provide that hope. We try to provide that through the Word of God and through the scripture."
A disaster assistance response team is working to coordinate distribution of thousands of items to the many thousands of Haitians in dire need. 21,000 Haitians are believed to be in shelters. Another 280-thousand, according to the Haitian government, have nowhere to go at all.
Samaritan's Purse will take more supplies to Haiti over the weekend and will possibly make trips to the Bahamas and Florida.
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