Hurricane Matthew which has caused over 478 deaths in Haiti is now battering the Florida coast with drenching rains and high winds. States of emergency have been declared in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, and millions of people have evacuated the coastline, either through mandatory or voluntary evacuation.
Teams of Christian relief workers are now on the scene, offering aid to victims of the storm.
ChristianToday.com reports that Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has 65,000 trained volunteers and 1,550 mobile units ready to provide food, debris clearance, child care, power supplies, and other essential services.
“We’ve been in close contact with our state partners and are preparing to help in any way we can,” said Mickey Caison, one of the team. “The potential for harm to people and massive property damage is certainly a major concern. We began our first Matthew planning meeting, as we do all of our state partner meetings, in prayer.”
Meteorologists warn that although Matthew went back down to a category 3 storm and did not directly hit the Florida coast, torrential rains and high winds are a major threat. Also, residents in coastal southeast states should be prepared for storm surges over the next 24 hours.
In Haiti, the damage from the storm is exponentially worse.
Aid teams have also deployed there. Samaritan’s Purse had personnel and supplies ready and waiting to help residents after the hurricane’s devastation.
Haiti, which is already an impoverished nation, acutely felt the effects from Matthew. Fresh water is reportedly in short supply and many are concerned about the threat of disease.
An estimated 61,500 people in Haiti remain in shelters, according to The Christian Examiner.