The co-founder of an Eagle Grove-based organization that has done extensive work to help Haiti recover from the earthquake in 2010 says Hurricane Mathew hit the country hard.
GoServ Global co-founder Ken DeYoung says communication with Haiti is just starting to open back up. “A hundred and 40-mile-an hour winds doesn’t do a lot of good for anything in any place — especially in Haiti where everything is so vulnerable,” DeYoung says. “…We are finally starting to get some news — phone service is starting to come back a bit — a lot of bad news.”
GoServ Global rebuilt some communities using metal grain bins manufactured in Iowa by the Sukup Company as homes. DeYoung says those homes seemed to have handled the hurricane conditions.
“The Safe-T homes very well. We lost a few of the lids if you will off the top. That’s pretty minor,” according to DeYoung.” We were really wondering how well they’d stand that kind of wind.”
He says the communication issues have made it tough to get a complete picture of the damage. “We haven’t been able to contact one of our villages that has 50 some homes out there. I just haven’t been able to get in touch with them, the rest of them stood up well They are wet, because of the rain and blowing, but everything else is too. We are really pleased with the Sukup Safe-T home,” DeYoung says.
The organization sponsors an orphanage for the children who were victims of the earthquake and he says everyone there appears to be okay. But you can hear the concern in his voice as he talks about reports he’s heard from other areas.
“I’ve heard most of the homes in our community out away from our projects are just gone or severely damaged. And it has been explained that it looks like a bulldozer went through the area,” DeYoung says. “Those homes leave families inside and the wind blows for another eight or ten hours and you can imagine that there are many moms and dads wandering around trying to find kids that are just gone.” DeYoung expects that there will not be a good outcome for those kids.
“The reports will be slow to come in, but there will be a lot of deaths before this is done,” DeYoung says. He hopes to be able to travel to Haiti soon and is also hoping to be able to get a transport plane to take some relief supplies.
“We’re trying to put together some food packs, some roofing supplies, dimension lumber, tarps, those kinds of things that we can get down there in a few days,” DeYoung says.
DeYoung says Iowans have been generous in helping with the earthquake relief and says they can also help with the hurricane recovery.
“Right now the most important thing is money,” De Young explains. “Obviously this is devastating financially down there. A lot of things can be bought in Haiti if you have the money to do so. So, we want to support the Haitian economy as much as we can. So, money is the most important.” He says you can make a donation through the GoServ Global website.
“There’s a special page set up for donation for Haiti and one thing we want to make clear always to people is that 100 percent of your money goes to where you want it to go,” according to De Young. “And we are pretty committed to that. You hear things about a lot of other organizations where a lot of money is misused. So, every dollar that you send will be sued for what you want it too. In this case the Haiti relief.” Go to the website: goservglobal.org to find the donation link.
Photos courtesy of GoServ Global.