Haiti Hunkers Down For Potentially Devastating Hurricane Matthew

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Matthew‘s strong winds and heavy rain are bearing down on parts of the Caribbean as others prepare for the storm’s potentially catastrophic effects.

A foot of water is already on some of the roads in Jamaica, flooding the streets and creating damage. Police are telling people to take the warning seriously and a evacuate; however, many may not.

In Haiti, where the storm is expected to be devastating, preparations are being made in the rain. The extremely dangerous hurricane expected to impact the Caribbean is also forcing flights to Jamaica and parts of Cuba and Haiti to be cancelled.

All flights are now canceled to Por-au-Prince, neighboring Kingston and areas impacted by the storm.

“They sent me here last night from New York to Miami to Haiti,” said Haitian Dennis Clodelle.

CBS4’s Marybel Rodriguez asked, “So you haven’t seen your family in a long time?”

“In nine months,” said Clodelle.

Clodelle, a cruise ship crew member, was hoping to be with his family in Haiti to protect them. Instead, he says he’ll be stranded in Miami praying for their safety.

Michael Wilhite and his wife are also trying to get home. He works at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

“I’ve spoken with coworkers and they’re just buckling down like everybody else is in Haiti,” said Michael Wilhite.

The president of Haiti is begging people to not ride out the storm and to go to a government shelter. At an outdoor market, people are dealing with the strong winds while trying to buy food and supplies.

Wilhite says the situation is concerning.

“I don’t think it will affect Haiti like the earthquake in 2010 but it could put a dent in Haiti. Just hard rain alone could affect Haiti,” said Wilhite.

In Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the threat of Hurricane Mathew is prompting evacuations. Close to 700 spouses and children of personnel at the station were boarded on military aircraft and evacuated from the naval station.

Daisy Green is grateful she can still get on a flight to Montego Bay.

“They’re already battening up the house just in case anything major happens.  We’ll see we’ve been thru this before,” said Green. “There’s shelters that they have if things happen, because things can happen.

Here at home in South Florida aid groups are already in high gear, ready to help those living thru the storm in Haiti.

“Today we’re being proactive,” said Community Organizer Sandy Dorsainvil. “We’re not going to wait for the storm to actually hit land and the devastation to begin to start talking about what our action plan is going to be.”

Dorsainvil is working with the Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation. Everyone is keeping a very close eye on the pictures and reports coming out of Haiti. They’re getting ready to ship relief supplies the moment the storm passes.

Marjorie Lozama is with the Haitian American nurses association.  The group is leading the effort to get medication and supplies to treat wounds.  Already they have some items they planned on taking to Haiti in December.  But now it’s turned into an urgent call for a relief mission to help those who will likely be injured.

“(We need) Over the counter medication for pain, supplies to do wound care,” she said. “We need vitamins, medication, Gatorade to hydrate, baby formula, baby product for the children.”

The group is looking for pain relievers, antibiotic pills and ointment, wound care supplies, pedialite, baby formula and gently worn clothes.  If you’d like to help you can call 305-912-1757 or you can drop off donations at 3333 NW 168th Street in Miami Gardens.

More from Marybel Rodriguez

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