Following the passing of catastrophic and deadly tropical storm, Hurricane Matthew, millions of people across the western hemisphere have been left distraught, with their homes in ruins. As the storm reached the coast, it quickly became the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007. In early October, Matthew reached the southwest coast of Haiti and left its mark on the terrain. Homes across Haiti have been obliterated, leaving 1.4 million people injured and in desperate need for medical assistance, and nearly 900 others dead. The United Nations is currently working to raise money for the damage done. However, much more is needed to provide complete relief and to sustain livelihood in Haiti, as well as contain a potential cholera outbreak. The lack of response to this culmination of disaster in Haiti is inexcusable, and the Westhill community is ready to lend a helping hand.
Ms. Claudia Obas, Westhill’s Dean of students, has initiated a school supply drive in which Westhill students are encouraged to bring in spare school supplies which could be of use to those in Haiti. “I was in Haiti in July, after several years of not being in Haiti. They aren’t over Hurricane Sandy yet and are still living in tents in villages. When I heard that Matthew was coming, I was more worried than I have been in the past,” said Ms. Obas.
In truth, Haiti has insufficient resources at the moment, as they have had for several years. The population continually struggles due to extreme poverty and lack of resources we take for granted in America. In such a calamitous natural disaster with massive flooding, their school supplies have likely been ruined. Obas feels that she should do something a little more practical in respect to the environment we are in at Westhill. Through a family member of Obas’ in Haiti, the collected supplies are being distributed to those who need them at a local church. Any extra materials they can obtain will be able to help Haiti in some way. Many students have been bringing in supplies, and Obas hopes that more students will contribute to the cause.