by Kristen Johanson
PHIALDELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds are confirmed dead in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew ripped through the country, with winds whipping at 120 miles per hour and waters flooding the land.
“It’s really, really sad,” said Pastor Missel Josiaste, who leads Zion Pentecostal Church of God in West Philadelphia, and is from Haiti.
“This is very, very hard to get in touch with people down there. And really, we don’t know how much damage has happened,” said Josiaste.
He, along with other Haitian immigrants in his congregation is trying to connect with their family, to make sure everyone is safe.
“They cannot really even know how many people died because a lot of the area, they cannot get in touch yet, because there is no electricity, no way of contact,” he said.
“My brother, his house is gone. My other brother, the roof of his house is also gone,” said Josiaste, thankful that his family is all safe.
“We are still suffering, I still feel like I should be there right now, be there to help my people,” he said.
The Category 4 hurricane comes just short of six years after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake leveled the country.
“The situation that Haiti went through, with that earthquake and now with Hurricane Matthew, so I say ‘Wow’. This is really too much. I say ‘Wow’ the Haitian people can’t take that, this is really too much,” he said. “We tried to rebuild Haiti, and it’s still not quite there yet– about halfway– and now everything is devastated.”
Josiaste said leaders in the Philadelphia-Haitian community will gather through the next week, to develop an action plan to bring relief to the ravaged country.
They are also asking the public for any help they can get.
To donate money, please go to http://elisejosephfoundation.org/
The church will hold a service Sunday at 11am, to pray for the victims.