KUSA - Hurricane Matthew made landfall Tuesday morning in Haiti as a Category 4 storm, with 145 mile-per-hour winds.

It is one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit that country.

The storm came ashore in an area of Haiti’s southern peninsula, west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It’s in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes where the Colorado Haiti Project has focused much of its work.

“They’re not prepared for this level of wind,” Jackie Martin said, executive chair of the board of directors for the Colorado Haiti Project.

At their Louisville offices, they work and wait for word on their colleagues, friends and the community of 30,000 people that they work with, who are feeling the force of Matthew’s wrath.

“We have lost phone contact with a lot of our people and so it’s only this one program manager through Facebook, he’s been able to reach us,” Martin said. “He said there’s lots of devastation to homes, lots of trees are falling down.”

The non-profit has been working in Haiti for more than 27 years, with about 100 people on the ground in that country.

“We focus on education, community health, clean water and livelihood development,” Martin said.
Petit-Trou sits along the northern coastline of Haiti’s southern peninsula.

“The area where we work is very rural. We have one of the few concrete buildings that has a second story in an 80-kilometer radius,” said Sharon Caulfield, past board president of the Colorado Haiti Project.

The Colorado Haiti Project built a school, which Haitians are now using as refuge from the storm. What comes after Matthew, though, may be just as dangerous, including the destruction of crops and the spread of disease.

“We’re very concerned about people’s safety,” Caulfield said.

For more information on the Colorado Haiti Project, go to coloradohaitiproject.org