South Florida volunteers aid in Haiti relief efforts

AQUIN, HAITI (WSVN) – Hundreds of pounds of food and supplies arrived in Haiti over the weekend, after hurricane Matthew tore through the island nation.

The country was already in crisis before the storm carved a deadly path of destruction. Now, relief efforts are pouring in.

South Florida is stepping up and bringing hope and help to Haiti. Each day hundreds of people have lined up at field clinics throughout the affected areas of the country, and volunteers from South Florida have been there to help tend to those in need.

7News followed the volunteers to the island. Many of them are young Haitian-Americans with the Haitian-American Nurses Association (HANA) and the Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation.

“As a daughter of Haiti… it is my duty to come here and give a helping hand,” said Tico Armand, a Man Dodo volunteer. “I think before anyone gets to do it, us as Haitians, we need to come and do it.”

As they pray and sing for those in need, they are also doing something about it. “Because they are us,” said Ed Lozama with the Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation. “It’s by the grace of God that we are not where they are. So I’m not gonna send it to them, I’m gonna bring it to them. I wanna touch them. I want to hand that plate to that kid. I wanna hand that medication to that sick woman. I think it’s much better.”

At a camp at Church Perrin, prayers and songs of worship managed to bring tears to some of the volunteers.

“I cry, but at the same time, I’m just so happy because they are so strong, and they are so positive,” said Armand. “They came inside of the church, and they started singing and singing songs of glorifying a higher power. That to me, is so beautiful.”

Outside of the church, volunteers from the two aforementioned organizations set up a field clinic. “When you look at the people, their face, the despair in their eyes, I need you to stay focused,” said Dr. Marie Etienne, a HANA volunteer.

The volunteers are working to help those who have gone without aid for so long after the hurricane. “The way we do it in the States, we are first on scene, within a minute, to help the patient out. Here it’s been days, and God knows what happened,” said Karam Karam.

Among those receiving assistance are a woman whose house collapsed on her, a dehydrated baby unable to cry liquid tears and a woman too weak to walk.

The hurricane left thousands homeless, also leaving many surrounded by contaminated water. Many have resorted to collecting rain water flowing from the mountainside. Many towns in the country are left without electricity and have received little to no aid.

7News will be following the volunteers around on their journey to help bring relief to the devastated areas.

For more information on HANA and the Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation, links to their websites have been provided below.

Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation

HANA Hurricane Matthew Relief effort-Haiti

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