(Update as of Oct. 19)—Dr. Joia Mukherjee has seen devastation in Haiti. She was there just days after the January 2010 earthquake that reduced Port-au-Prince neighborhoods to rubble, killed 300,000 people, injured 300,000 more, and displaced 1.5 million. Still, she says, each brick removed and surgery performed felt like a step forward.

But now, seeing the destruction left by Hurricane Matthew, she struggles to find words to describe the scene along Haiti’s southern claw, the region hit hardest by the Category 4 storm.

“I can honestly say this is one of the worst things I have ever seen,” says Mukherjee, Partners In Health’s chief medical officer.

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(Update as of 12 a.m., Oct. 10)—Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health, asks supporters to choose carefully when donating funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.


Partners In Health co-founder, Dr. Paul Farmer explains that 'either-or' is not an acceptable theme in responding to the Hurricane Matthew disaster in Haiti.



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(Update as of 5 p.m., Oct. 6)—Hurricane Matthew, one of the most severe to hit the Caribbean in a decade, pummeled the country’s southwest region Tuesday. More than 100 people have died.

About 350,000 people need emergency help and more than 15,000 have been displaced, reports the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The 12 health centers Partners In Health supports in Haiti’s central region have continued operating as usual. We are currently working to get more supplies to these facilities, as well as to our 10 cholera treatment centers in anticipation of a likely spike in cholera cases.

“Usually after such a storm, the number of cases will increase,” said Dr. Jacklin Saint-Fleur, director of St. Marc’s Hospital. “I am now on my way to the cholera treatment center to check on the levels of supplies, to see what we have in terms of IVs, beds, and staff.”

PIH staff are also traveling to the southwest region to determine how we can best help our medical colleagues there, though flooded roads and destroyed bridges will make this difficult.

“Though the storm has passed, experience tells us that the worst is yet to come,” said Dr. Charles-Patrick Almazor, PIH’s chief medical officer in Haiti. “What would be the immediate need is to make sure that people get safe drinking water and safe water for washing.”

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(Update as of 5 p.m., Oct. 4)—Hurricane Matthew, one of the most severe to hit the Caribbean in a decade, passed over the southwest tip of Haiti Tuesday morning, carrying winds up to 130 miles an hour and an estimated 40 inches of rainfall.

Partners In Health supports 12 health centers in the country’s central region, and our staff members expect to see an influx of patients over the coming days and weeks.

“Having lived through—as have all of our colleagues in Haiti—a number of devastating storms including Hannah, Fay, Gustav, and Ike, I want to alert Partners In Health supporters to the gravity of what is likely to follow,” said Dr. Paul Farmer, a co-founder and chief strategist of PIH. “This will not only be acute illness and injury, but also—because of deforestation—there will be flash floods and loss of infrastructure.

“I just want to remind friends of Partners In Health that Haiti remains in the middle of what is likely the world’s most devastating cholera epidemic,” he continued. “Food insecurity and water insecurity will be worsened by any serious storm.”

We’re expecting historic rains, mudslides, and flash floods that will endanger people who are already living with very little. Your emergency gift helps us prepare for this hurricane and supply urgent health care for those who will need it most.

We’ll keep you updated as the situation develops.

Listen to Dr. Farmer’s full comments here:

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