Minnesota missionaries ride out Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

As Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in Haiti, many of the country’s population will not have evacuated or found a safe shelter. Not because they don’t want to, but because there simply aren’t enough safe shelters and many don’t have anywhere else to go.

Healing Haiti, a Christian mission organization based in Champlin, Minnesota, currently has a group of volunteers in Port-au-Prince. The group arrived in Haiti September 28th for a short mission trip, but due to the pending tropical storm their return flight was canceled.

“It’s unfortunate and fortunate,” said Molly Hesse of Woodbury, Minnesota. She said she is prepared to extend her trip to help with storm relief.

This is Hesse’s second mission trip to Haiti. She says because most people don’t own cell phones or televisions, they didn’t even know a storm was coming.

“The people still don’t have the resources they had back then as far as the news to warn them of the weather,” she said referencing deadly tropical storms in 2007 and 2008.  “There are a lot of people out here who don’t even realize what’s coming.”

She also said there is a lack of safe shelter. Healing Haiti built a church in the coastal Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Cite Soleil, but she said that’s a neighborhood of several hundred thousand and the church will only shelter a few hundred.

“They have tin roofs so the best they can do is put cinder blocks on their roofs to hope their roofs don’t blow away.”

The airline re-booked Hesse on a Wednesday flight. She said she won’t make a decision on coming home until the storm is over and the damage assessed.