Port-au-Prince, Haiti (WBTV) - While the U.S. is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Matthew, Haiti has already experienced Mother Nature's wrath. Thursday, Samaritan's Purse packed their DC-8 aircraft full of supplies and headed south.
Chris Toews is heading up the effort for the Boone-based Christian aid organization.
"Plastic sheeting, blankets, hygiene kits, water filtration systems. There are still towns that are half under water. So it's going to be a long road to recovery for the country of Haiti," Toews said.
WBTV was invited to fly down with Samaritan's Purse as they delivered two tons of critical items and personnel.
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"It's really an impoverished country, the people are without. There's just a lot of infrastructure that has been compromised over the years," Lance Plyler said.
Local Haitians met the plane at the airport in Port-au-Prince.
"All the people are saying this is God's visit to Haiti," one pastor said.
"Samaritan's Purse was the first organization here. America is always there for us whenever we are in trouble," another pastor told staff members.
Devastation is nothing new to a country still recovering from a massive earthquake nearly seven years ago.
"It was just common place to them. You didn't see the remorse on their face because they're so used to heartache," American missionary Jan Gutwein said.
Nick Bechert has been drawn to disaster relief since high school.
"There's something about a disaster when everyone is broken down. It's just the basics that they need, you can connect with people a lot easier. A lot of times I don't speak the same language as the people that I'm working with, but everybody speaks the same language as being able to smile," Bechert said.
SP personnel will be in Haiti as long as they are needed. They will be rotated in and out on a two to four week basis, but most aren't thinking about going home.
"There's just so many needs that aren't being addressed. So somebody has to do it," Plyler said.
Samaritan's Purse's plane is expected to go back and forth to Haiti multiple times in the coming days to deliver supplies and more personnel.
For more information about the organization, visit samaritanspurse.org.