South Florida Haitians in Little Haiti concerned for family members back home

MIAMI (WSVN) - Many South Florida Haitians expressed their worry to 7News about their loved ones back home as Hurricane Matthew approaches the island.

Knowing that Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, South Florida Haitians have already begun to send money and food back to their home country for family members. They said that ever since the earthquake shook the country, it has not recovered, and they are just not ready for a hurricane.

Marilyne Codio-Laurore, who has family in Haiti, said she is constantly checking in with loved ones through text messages and social media. “We keep in contact with them on how things are going,” she said.

Codio-Laurore, along with the rest of the South Florida Haitian community, are keeping tabs on family who are in the path of Hurricane Matthew. “They said they are very concerned because they are expecting, according to the forecast, heavy rains,” said Jan Mapou who have family in Haiti.

Heavy downpours in Haiti can be catastrophic since the houses in the south were not built to withstand so much accumulated water. “There’s a lot of mudslides, a lot of water, and when it rains a lot, people die,” said Marleine Bastein, with Haitian Women of Miami.

“Everything is going through our minds, so death, ’cause right now, Haiti cannot sustain the storm,” Codio-Laurore said.

Many in the Little Haiti area have gone to money transfer stores to send money and food back to those living back home before the storm hits. “Rice, beans, anything you can think of for them to be able to sustain themself after the storm,” Codio-Laurore said.

Sarah Sandsted, who works with the non-profit, Rebuild Globally in Port-au-Prince, said, “Unfortunately, I don’t think people are as prepared as they could be. They’re living in houses with mud and rocks, which just wash away in a hurricane, and of course, you do have some people living underneath tents from the aftermath of the hurricane from 2010.”

Forty thousand people live in tents in Haiti. Workers at the Food for the Poor warehouse in Coconut Creek have already transported food to Haiti and are ready to send more. “The devastation there is horrible. Even a tropical storm will create landslides that will kill a lot of people,” said Angel Aloma with Food for the Poor.

Food for the Poor said they need monetary donations as well as canned meat, canned fish and canned milk. If you’d like to make a donation, go to:

To donate to the Red Cross connecting families in Haiti, go to:

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