Idaho missionary witnesses Haiti crisis firsthand

Idaho missionary highlights Haiti crisis.

One of the hardest hit countries by Hurricane Matthew is Haiti. The United Nations says the disaster has affected more than 350,000 people; this makes this one of the worst crises for the country since an earthquake six years ago. The death toll in Haiti is estimated to be around 800.

Janis Walton, who's from the Wood River Valley, currently lives in Gonaives, which is on the eastern coast of the island. 

Walton moved to Haiti about a year ago as a part of Eben-Ezer, a nonprofit aimed at fighting poverty in the country. Walton says unlike areas to the north and south, her town wasn't hit too hard.

"We had pouring, driving rain, but we did not take a huge impact in terms of damage," Walton said.

The rain still has Walton worried. She says when it rains this hard, all the water flushes down the mountains and brings with it bacteria, which runs right into the streams and wells that people use. 

"People use that water to wash and bath. Wash their clothes and bath their utensils and drink and basically they serve Cholera to each other," Walton said.

She says this could mean more trouble brewing for a country that's already suffering from an epidemic of Cholera, a potentially deadly intestinal infection.

"We're really concerned about how many people will have Cholera in a couple of months," Walton said.

This as the country looks to rebuild from yet another natural disaster.

"We're preparing for the next crisis, which we believe is going to be Cholera," Walton said.

Walton says from what she's seen, one of the worst things that can happen is when people start donating food that's grown in that country. She says that's because these little businesses, looking to rebound from the hurricane, then can't sell any of their food, which in turn puts them out of business. 

Walton advises those who are looking to help with relief efforts to look into non-profits that are on the island because many times they know what the people over there need.

Here are some organizations that help in relief efforts:


St. Damien

American Red Cross

Saint Alphonsus Project Haiti

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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