These First-Look Photos From Rural Haiti Reveal The Scope Of Hurricane Matthew’s Devastation

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Haiti has, once again, been left devastated by natural disaster. The southern coastal region was ripped apart — crops decimated, towns flattened, homes whisked away as if they were never there to begin with. For most of us, it’s nearly impossible to fathom the displacement and disarray a force of nature like this creates.

As the storm clears, there’s a more pressing need than ever for clean water, with the threat of a cholera outbreak becoming more dire every day. It is one thing to ride out the storm, and an entirely different thing to persevere through the aftermath.

Jon Rose, the founder of Waves for Water, and photographer Dylan Gordon were on the first flight into Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. They’ve corresponded with Uproxx from the southern coastal region of the country — where many towns have been cut off from aid trucks, with some access being regained just yesterday. Their mission is to help get clean water to the villages where it’s needed most.

Waves for Water is a nonprofit, guerilla-humanitarian project that operates under a no nonsense, no red tape, “do something about the issue” mandate. They’ve responded to nearly every global disaster, earthquake, or tsunami over the past decade. When the crew isn’t responding to an emergency, they travel the globe implementing water filtration systems to villages in need. They work with a team of locals in every region they visit to create a lasting and beneficial bond, ensuring that when they leave, their work doesn’t leave with them.

Feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of natural disasters is, well, natural. We settle into the stance that we alone cannot change anything. We feel powerless, small, and so we resign ourselves to doing nothing. We assume someone else will. We adopt the attitude that, “The devastation is a whole world away.” In reality, we’re separated only by oceans, by land masses, maybe a long flight or two.

Waves for Water flies in the face of this approach. They believe in the impact of individuals. By supporting their mission, you’re directly putting filters into the hands of the people who need clean water. So maybe today is the day to forgo your morning latte, skip your twenty-five dollar yoga class, or pass on a second craft cocktail. Maybe today is the day for you to donate to the Matthew Relief Initiative, instead.

Something is something. And right now, something is everything.

Even though the external reality for so many Haitians is in shambles at the moment, (from what I’ve seen), their internal one remains intact. I’ve never seen such strength in the face of such adversity. Still smiling against all odds. I’ve said this for years, but they are by and far the strongest people I’ve come across.

-Jon Rose

Getty Image / Photo by Dylan Lucas Gordon / Waves4Water © 2016