According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Matthew is bearing down upon Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba presently. There are Wesleyan churches in all of these countries. As of midday Monday, it was less than 250 miles from Jamaica and Haiti. The threat to Haiti and Cuba is more direct, with an expected glancing blow to Jamaica. It is expected to approach landfall in Haiti sometime Monday night, Cuba late Tuesday, then move on to the Bahamas.
The threat to Haiti is great. The country has never fully recovered from the devastating earthquake of 2010, and the poverty and lack of infrastructure makes another natural disaster there all the more concerning. The Wesleyan Church has 137 churches and preaching points, dozens of schools, and on the island of La Gonave, a thriving hospital and nursing school. Southwest Haiti, the Jacmel area, appears to be mostly directly in the path. There are also missionaries and a short term missions team currently in-country.
Winds up to 140 mph have been measured in the eye-wall, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts winds in excess of 115 mph at first landfall. Of equal concern is the prediction of heavy rains of 12-25 inches and even more in isolated locations. Especially in Haiti, with its denuded hills and mountains, there are predictions of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. A storm surge of 10-15 feet along coastlines is also a great threat to life and property.
Please PRAY for all those threatened by the effects of this category 4 storm, the strongest in the Caribbean since 2007. Pray that God will have mercy and help the innocent.
Image is from NOAA.