Finding Hope in Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti as a powerful category 4 storm that caused widespread flooding, mudslides, and damage to homes and farms. Unfortunately, many affected communities were still working to recover from the 2010 earthquake.

Six months later, many Haitians are still recovering and rebuilding. In this blog, Beth McKinley from Lutheran World Relief (LWR) introduces us to the people who have been affected by the storm, and the steps LWR and the community are taking together to be prepared for emergencies in the future.

Hurricane Matthew may have caused damage in Haiti, but it did not destroy hope

LWR has been able to respond to both the short-term and long-term needs of the people affected by this destructive storm.

With help from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation (HSCF), we are able to work alongside farmers to recover their crops and income, and to improve their production so they can better face the future – even in the event of storms like Matthew.

We do this by identifying potential risks and designing response plans before emergencies happen. That way, vulnerable communities are better able to absorb the inevitable shocks that happen in the wake of a disaster.

This work isn’t fast or easy, but it does create lasting change.

And so, on this six-month anniversary of Hurricane Matthew, we are celebrating where we are finding hope in Haiti again.

Etrenine Errilus can afford to send her children to school

Etrenine Errilus

Etrenine, 50, lives in the town of Falingant and like many farmers, she saw widespread crop destruction as a result of Hurricane Matthew. With the support of LWR and donors such as HSCF, she received seeds to begin replanting.

Etrenine has several plots on her farm, and says that her garden generates enough income to pay the full school fees for two of her five children

Fisherfolk in Petite Paradise are fishing again

Fisherfolk in Petite Paradise

Hurricane Matthew caused particular devastation in fishing communities in the Northeast region of Haiti. Fisherfolk saw their boats wrecked, fishing nets shredded, and equipment destroyed.

LWR is working to help replace these items (and, as you can see, communities are also working to repair what they can). In addition to that, LWR was also able to install a solar panel to power a freezer, so that fisherfolk can store their fish until it is time to sell. Along with the replaced equipment, the panel and freezer will go on to help improve livelihoods and resilience long into the future.

Lionel Philador started a coffee tree seedling nursery

Lionel Philador is a coffee farmer living in Carice, in the northeast mountains of Haiti. For many years, she and her husband struggled to grow coffee, often selling their beans to a middleman for quick cash.

When she joined the St. Helene de Carice coffee cooperative, an LWR partner in Haiti, things began to get better. Through training, she learned about all aspects of the coffee production process – including how to start coffee seedlings and managing a nursery. In fact, that one piece of knowledge changed Lionel’s life for the better.

Find out how by watching this video – and seeing how your support empowers farmers to build better lives.

Thank you!

Supporting LWR means building bridges between the U.S. and the developing world, helping to move families from survival to stability.

Thank you to the HSCF and the partners that help LWR toward the vision of a future where all people, in every corner of the world, can live full, dignified lives.

Written by Elizabeth McKinley, CFRE, philanthropic advisor for Lutheran World Relief

About LWR

Natural and human-made disasters affect hundreds of millions of people each year, and the number of people at risk grows by 70 to 80 million annually. The world’s poorest suffer most acutely, since they have the fewest resources to prepare for a crisis and to rebuild afterward.

LWR’s emergency operations are designed to address the most urgent and basic needs of vulnerable communities — including women and children, who are often the most vulnerable — while also promoting sustainable recovery and building resilience to future disasters.

To learn more about the people, projects, and impact of LWR, visit

Lutheran World Relief was supported with a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, as a part of the Foundation, Team Schein, and Henry Schein, Inc.’s combined efforts to raise and donate funds to relief organizations following Hurricane Matthew.