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Hurricane Matthew Relief

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with global Baptists, its state and regional organizations and other relief agencies to provide emergency support and plan for long-term recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. 

Hurricane Matthew struck the southern coast of Haiti Oct. 4 with devastating 145-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rain. A United Nations official declared the hurricane as "the largest humanitarian event" in the country of 11 million people since the deadly earthquake in 2010, which left more than 200,000 dead, 55,000 homeless and thousands living in tents and other temporary dwellings.

The U.N. estimated that 2.3 million people in Haiti reside in areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Initial assessments show thousands of houses destroyed or significantly damaged in the country.

CBF Global Missions has reported that field personnel Jenny Jenkins, who serves in Grand Goâve, Haiti, is safe, after spending 36 hours waiting out the storm at her house and mission center, where the roof flooded and caused water damage to the rooms and beds. Jenkins has worked in Haiti since 2008 and was instrumental in CBF's relief efforts in the aftermath of the deadly 2010 earthquake.

David Harding, CBF's International Disaster Response Coordinator said that a coordinated response in the region is beginning to take shape alongside global Baptist groups with their partners in the area. Harding emphasized the importance of the partnership of CBF of Florida and CBF Bahamas as plans are formulated for a response in Haiti, southeast Cuba and the U.S.

CBF has contributed initial $20,000 to assist in the hurricane relief efforts, including $10,000 to Haiti and $5,000 each to the Bahamas and Cuba through CBF Florida. CBF field personnel Jenny Jenkins, who serves in Grand Goâve, Haiti, is the point person for the relief efforts in Haiti. Jenkins, who has served in Haiti since 2008, was instrumental in the Fellowship's response to the 2010 earthquake that devastated the small country of 11 million people. The death toll from Hurricane Matthew recently surpassed 1,000 in Haiti as government officials and medical professionals warn that contaminated water could lead to a massive cholera outbreak.

CBF is also working alongside CBF Florida to coordinate relief efforts in the Bahamas and Cuba. CBF Florida Coordinator Ray Johnson reported Monday that CBF of Bahamas churches located on the east end of Grand Bahama sustained damage, and the entire eastern half of Grand Bahama is expected to remain without power for several weeks. CBF Florida is partnering with Christ Journey Church in Miami to provide much-needed relief, including sending generators, to the Bahamas as quickly as possible. Johnson added that CBF Florida's partners in the eastern part of Cuba endured "catastrophic losses."

"Our focus will be to help the most vulnerable that do not have financial reserves to recover from the loss," Harding said. "Assistance in this time of need will give a sense of hope that God and God's people care about their plight in the midst of devastation."

Volunteer teams to assist with the relief efforts will be needed in the Bahamas and Cuba once the infrastructure can sustain travel to the communities, Johnson said.

In addition to CBF of Florida, other CBF state organizations, including CBF of Georgia, CBF of North Carolina and CBF of South Carolina, are continuing to assess the damage in their states and are making plans for recovery, said Ron Fairley, CBF's associate coordinator of projects and services. While these states have all sustained wind damage, downed trees and some flooding, North Carolina has experienced the most significant flooding, as local authorities are going house to house as needed to ensure the safety of residents, he said.

CBF Communications will continue to prrovide updates on the Fellowship's relief efforts in the Caribbean and the United States as it works in partnership with CBF state and regional organizations as well as other disaster relief partners to assess needs and plan for long-term recovery efforts in affected and neglected communities. 

Donations to support CBF's disaster response efforts to Hurricane Matthew may be made online here or by mailing a check payable to "CBF" with Acct. 17004 in the memo line to:

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972

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Volunteer teams to assist with the relief efforts will be needed in the Bahamas and Cuba once the infrastructure can sustain travel to the communities, Johnson said.

In addition to CBF of Florida, other CBF state organizations, including CBF of Georgia, CBF of North Carolina and CBF of South Carolina, are continuing to assess the damage in their states and are making plans for recovery, said Ron Fairley, CBF’s associate coordinator of projects and services. While these states have all sustained wind damage, downed trees and some flooding, North Carolina has experienced the most significant flooding, as local authorities are going house to house as needed to ensure the safety of residents, he said.

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