AmeriCares to Provide Help to Areas Affected By Hurricane Matthew

The latest hurricane track has the center of Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti early Tuesday morning. The forecast now calling for the entire country to be impacted by life-threatening rainfall, wind and a dangerous storm surge. 

Closer to home, Stamford-based AmeriCares is working with several organizations to help provide relief from the Matthew’s impending destruction. 

"We're in touch with our partners right now to anticipate what some of those needs will be," Michael Nyenhuis, president and chief executive officer of AmeriCares. "We certainly have a long history of doing this kind of work and have an experience base to understand what's going to be needed."

While the entire country will be impacted, the southern coast of Haiti is expected to have the most devastating damage. With a forecasted storm surge upward of 7 feet and estimated rainfall ranging from 15 to 25 inches and as much as 40 inches possible, many people are gearing up for catastrophic effects.

"We've had out emergency response working group here in Connecticut meeting already to touch base with our own staff and our partners that are in the affected areas to make sure that we're prepared to respond," Nyenhuis said.

AmeriCares Emergency Programs provide millions of people from all around the world access to medicine and supplies they would otherwise not have.

"We're going to be in touch with people immediately once the storm passes to see what the specific needs are and that's what we're going to send and ship right away," Nyenhuis said. "Likely they’re going to need basic antibiotics, they're going to need basic supplies to deal with injuries to deal with people who are affected by debris and water."

The threats go beyond the impacts from the storm itself. There are also concerns about an increase in cholera - the waterborne disease that has already killed more than 9,000 and sickened more than 700,000 Haitians over the past six years. Another disease to be concerned about is Zika.

"There's a lot of community education that goes on to try and keep people from contracting cholera," Nyenhuis said. "But we also deal with the supplies that are necessary as well to make sure that the local clinics and hospitals that will deal with these cases can put an end to it very quickly."

Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, will likely be the strongest hurricane to hit Haiti in decades.

The last storm was category 5 Allen that passed just south of Haiti in 1980.

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