#HurricaneMatthew: How We Are Responding and How You Can Help

A few days ago, Hurricane Matthew became the first Category 5 hurricane to form in the Atlantic since 2007. As Hurricane Matthew passed through the Caribbean, it left behind damage and devastation in Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Cuba. 

This hurricane is projected to first impact the east coast of Florida and track parallel to the coastline of Georgia and the Carolinas. While we do not know exactly how the hurricane will impact the United States, it's important that all of us -- federal, state, tribal, and local authorities as well as people and businesses residing in potentially affected communities -- take the necessary steps to prepare. 

Even as we prepare here, Hurricane Matthew is already hammering our neighboring countries; it has claimed lives and displaced many more. Learn more about the U.S. response to this natural disaster, resources for American citizens overseas in affected areas, and what you can do to help. 

How the United States is Responding

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has deployed disaster teams to the central Caribbean in response to Hurricane Matthew. As the storm hit, USAID strategically pre-positioned emergency relief supplies -- including shelter materials, blankets, hygiene kits, household items, and water purification equipment -- to ensure they are available to help communities affected by the tropical storm. An initial shipment of relief supplies from the USAID warehouse in Miami was also prepared to rapidly respond to people in need. The DART, an elite team of disaster experts, will coordinate with governments of the affected countries and humanitarian organizations on the ground to bring vital humanitarian assistance and logistics support to those in need in the aftermath of the major hurricane. USAID is also providing $400,000 in initial assistance for humanitarian partners to rapidly provide critical relief to those impacted by the storm.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti the morning of October 4 as a powerful Category 4 storm, causing widespread flooding and infrastructure damage. Additional impacts--such as landslides, mudflows, and storm surges--are expected over the next several days. Today members of the USAID DART are expected to begin conducting air assessments of hard-hit areas and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $1 million in humanitarian assistance for communities in Haiti affected. 

Resources for Travelers and Loved Ones

Travelers should check with their individual airlines regarding specific flights. U.S. citizens should take shelter immediately, monitor local media, and follow all instructions from local authorities. If you are in the path of the storm, try to let your loved ones in the United States know your whereabouts and status and check in again as soon as possible after the storm passes.

Here’s how you may inform the Department of State of U.S. citizens in the affected areas:

  • Visit Task Force Alert and select “2016 Storm Matthew.”
  • Email 2016StormMatthewEmergencyUSC@state.gov and provide as much information as possible (at a minimum, please provide their full name, gender, and last known location within country, if known).
  • Call us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. and Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas).

How You Can Help

When disasters occur anywhere in the world, Americans generously offer assistance to those in need. Decades of experience in disaster relief and recovery have shown that the best way to help people affected by disaster is to make cash donations to reputable relief and charitable organizations on the ground. These groups work closely with affected communities, know what people need and how to strengthen recovery efforts. Cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees, and it also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods.

You can go to the Center for International Disaster Information's website to find out how you can help those affected by Hurricane Matthew and to learn more about organizations you can support who are directly involved in relief efforts.

For more information:

The high winds of Hurricane Matthew roar over Baracoa, Cuba, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 5, 2016


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