The devastation of Hurricane Matthew is something I will never forget. This week marked six months from the day I left Haiti after Matthew ravaged the country’s Tiburon Peninsula. Matthew made landfall on Oct. 4, 2017, as a category 4 hurricane. Although it wasn’t the first major natural disaster I’d photographed, it was certainly the most significant in terms of both human and physical loss.
My journey started in Charleston, South Carolina, the day Matthew made landfall in Haiti. Weather experts had put the beast of a storm on a path headed directly for the Southeastern United States. I was placed on alert status and told to evacuate my family. Two days later at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, in a driving rain, I boarded a C-17 cargo plane with 50 other Airmen, headed to Port-au-Prince in the middle of the night.
After we arrived, the average day was about 93 degrees warm and 18 hours long. The work was strenuous, and followed the same basic pattern; a truck would arrive at the airport, it would be unloaded, the supplies were stacked on the tarmac then reloaded in helicopters, and unload again after being flown to various drop zones.
As a photojournalist my only disappointment came from not being able to spend more than a few moments on the ground at the drop zones. Our mission was simply to deliver the supplies. To see the destruction, and the story that needed to be told was a tough pill to swallow. I found Haiti to be an intriguing country, full of vibrant people.
Sadly, there is still much work to be done. After what little spotlight there was faded, the humanitarian crisis continued on. According to a recent article by the Miami Herald, shelter and food remain scarce. I hope for the Haitian people, that they receive the assistance they need before it’s too late.