St. Damien Hospital braces for impact of Hurricane Matthew

Haiti struggles following Hurricane Matthew.

BOISE - "It's not just a hurricane," said Father Enzo Del Brocco. "In a country where there's a lot of deforestation obviously that creates a lot of mudslides."

That's just one of the many worries of those in Haiti, a country that is now left to pick up the pieces. 

One agency that is aiding in that effort, St. Damien Hospital in Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince. That hospital has been connected to Saint Aphonsus in Boise for decades through what is called Project Haiti, an organization that provides resources to fund and support the hospital.

Early Tuesday morning, St. Damien Hospital  braced for Hurricane Matthew.

"Winds were probably around 40 to 50 miles per hour and we had a lot of rain," said Fr. Enzo Del Brocco with the hospital.

It's a category 4 storm that has ripped through Haiti leaving many homeless, sick, or dead in its wake.

"In this moment there is no communication at all since at least 12 hours with Jeremie and Jacmel, those are two cities on the south coast," said Del Brocco.

In the capital city, Del Brocco paints a picture of devastation. 

"Imagine the canals that were already all full of all kinds of waste, plastic bottles of every kind of size, every kind of piece of junk," said Del Brocco. "People were just walking, almost swimming in the roads. They're almost like rivers."

He says although the government has been urging evacuations, many did not leave.

"If I were to put myself in their situation where could they go?" asked Del Brocco. "What other shelter can you give them? We're talking about a city like Port-au-Prince that has still 50,000 people in tents."

With massive flooding and the lack of fresh water, the threat of Cholera disease looms. 

"Imagine how all the roads are a mess, missing bridges, trying to bring food and how many people will have this disease," said Del Brocco "The disaster really begins after the hurricane stops."

Del Brocco says getting to the hospital for help right now is nearly impossible.

"How can you even risk your life going on these roads?" asked Del Brocco. "People are not able to walk, it's too dangerous."

Del Brocco says they're expecting an influx of patients at the hospital.

"Here we're in a situation of survival and emergency," said Del Brocco.

It's a situation much like six years ago, when a massive earthquake hit this area.

"Every time you think that you're finally able to raise up and stand on your feet, it's like you're knocked down again," said Del Brocco. "On the other hand it shows the strength of this population, this great hope."

Del Brocco says they are trying their best to prepare for an influx of patients in the next couple of days. He says they're hoping to receive some financial support in addition to more supplies, especially since they're expecting many people to contract Cholera which can be deadly. Del Brocco says no matter how many fluids they have stored, they will need more.

To donate to St. Damien Hospital, click here.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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