Venice, Florida -- Hurricane Matthew first made land fall over Haiti two days ago and many say the storm devastated communities. Haitian officials report 108 are dead.
Relief is on the way from a nonprofit Christian group in the Bay area.
“Oh my goodness,” says Allen Speer, CEO of Agape Flights out of Venice as he looks at photos from Haiti for the first time.
Each photo is as startling as the next. Speer says, “Pretty much total devastation.”
“It was the longest night I’ve ever spent. Tremendous wind, rain listing to trees come down,” adds Star Harvie a missionary with Reciprocal Ministries International (RMI). Harvie says only palm trees are left standing after Matthew slammed into the west coast with Category 4 force winds.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation know so many have so little now have nothing left,” says Harvie.
Even concrete structures were damaged, bridges and roads washed out.
Speer says, “Haiti always seems like they can’t catch a break.”
They are about to get one. Agape Flights out of Venice will be heading to Jeremie and Les-Cayes among the hardest hit areas this Saturday. By plane is the only way in, they’ll land on a small gravel strip.
“We don’t see it as risky. We see it as this is what we’re made for called to do,” says Speer.
The plane carries 3,000 pounds in supplies. Onboard will be more than 63,000 meals of dried food such as chicken and rice. Each bag feeds 4 people. The bag is easy to use, open and empty into boiling water.
“This will sustain them,” says Speer.
But much is still needed like heavy tarps for shelter chain saws and generators.
“Most of the time they need to know there’s hope and in this case when they see our plane flying in they understand there’s hope and hope will continue to come,” says Speer.
Speer and Harvie says the Haitian people will once again survive this disaster. Harvie says, “The Haitian people are resilient. They will come through this.”
Agape Flights head out weekly to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to take supplies to missionary groups. The disaster in Haiti will require more trips each one is $5,000.
To help make donations or drop off supplies to to Agape Flight’s website at www.agapeflights.com or call 941-584-8078.