‘Be like Brit’ orphanage in Haiti prepares for Hurricane Matthew

HAITI (WHHD) — Parts of Haiti expect to feel the full force for Hurricane Matthew’s heavy rains and punishing winds.

As people there prepare for the storm, an orphanage is also getting ready to deal with the possible devastation Matthew could bring.

The “Be Like Brit” orphanage was started after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, named after Massachusetts native Brittney Gengel, who died in the earthquake.

A worker at the orphanage told 7News what they are doing to prepare for the hurricane.

“Right now there’s a light wind, it’s very dark, very gray which is unusual for Haiti, it’s usually very sunny and warm, it’s much cooler than normal, it’s about 80 degrees,” said.

Jonatham Lamare is the director of the “Be Like Brit” orphanage in Haiti, which was founded in honor of Gengel, a Rutland native.

Now, the island is getting ready for another potentially devastating event.

“We’ve prepared for the worst but hoping for the best, all reports expecting 25-40 inches of rain, winds of 140,” Lamare said.

Another concern is potential mudslides, especially in the mountains, where the orphanage is located. Lamare and his team have been busy preparing for Matthew, like
others in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, islands also in the path of the storm.

“We’ve identified the best areas to shelter in place, we’ve boarded up the windows, stocked up on diesel for our generators,” he said.

There are 66 children at the orphanage. Including the staff members, there are more than 100 people taking shelter in the building.

Lamare said they have enough water, food and supplies to last about a week, and they feel safe because the building was built to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

His concern is with others living nearby.

“Most people I’ve spoken to aren’t aware there’s a hurricane coming,” he said. “They’re still living in temp structures, still in tents and tarps and in shacks that are pieced together.”


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