Bay Area medical missionaries leave for Haiti

- A non-profit organization is preparing to send medical missionaries to Haiti where Hurricane Matthew made landfall Tuesday morning, destroying homes and flooding streets in its path.

Volunteers with People for Haiti spent Tuesday afternoon gathering supplies, including food and medicine, in preparation for the emergency trip.

"There's flooding, electrical fires, significant damage," said Tammy Denbo, who spoke to a volunteer already on the island on Tuesday. "They're seeing areas where mudslides and flooding have already wiped out
some of the existing homes and structures."

On Tuesday, UNICEF warned the hurricane would put four million children at risk. The prediction is concerning for People for Haiti missionaries. They work at an orphanage that houses more than 50 children.

"While they do have a concrete foundation and the downstairs is concrete, the upstairs is two-by-fours with a tin roof," said Denbo, "So with 140 mile an hour winds, that tin roof could very easily become a projectile."

Getting in touch with missionaries and translators already in Haiti was an issue on Tuesday, because cell phone and internet reception was affected by the storm.

Volunteers are stocking up on antibiotics in anticipation of the medical concerns they will face.

"People get cut even just cleaning up after a disaster like this. A lot of people get injured. People have cuts all over their bodies from falling roofs or trying to move debris," said Christine Hasham.

The missionaries, many of whom are medically trained, have treated more than 40,000 Haitian patients since the deadly 2010 earthquake.

Heading into their upcoming trip, they said their work is nowhere near done.

People for Haiti is asking for donations to help purchase medical-related supplies before they leave for Haiti on Monday, October 10. They are asking any doctors interested in volunteering to contact them as well. For more information or to contact People for Haiti, visit www.peopleforhaiti.com.

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