Short documentary film follows AHF’s first responders in Haiti in the critical days after Hurricane Matthew
LOS ANGELES (April 25, 2016) — In the days following October 2016’s Hurricane Matthew that left hundreds of thousands of Haitians homeless and without food, clothing, electricity and water, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) was among the first to spring into action to mobilize and deliver aid to the storm’s victims. A Category 4 storm, Matthew was third strongest on record to hit the country, and the strongest to hit Haiti since Hurricane Cleo in 1964.
Confronted with troubling reports of the widespread devastation and the slow response by international aid organizations to reach the worst-hit areas when every second counts, AHF staff was able to collect enough supplies within 24 hours to fill up two cargo planes to deliver to Haiti. AHF also sent doctors from Mexico and the Caribbean who traveled to Haiti to join local medical staff in treating the sick and injured.
AHF presented its debut screening of Matthew, a short film documentary that follows AHF’s first responders in Haiti in the critical moments after Hurricane Matthew swept across the country, at the Silicon Beach Film Festival on Monday, April 24th.
Produced by AHF’s Associate Creative Director Stacy Fong, the ten-minute documentary raises awareness of the dire ongoing medical and infrastructure needs of Haiti, including the fact that many victims of Hurricane Matthew are without shoes, including children. These children are at a significantly increased risk of foot injury and infection that can lead to more serious illnesses. Shoes, clothing and monetary contributions may be sent to AHF’s Haiti Relief fund at 700 SE 3rd Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 or made online at haitirelief.ahf.org
“It is an absolute shame that global health policies don’t react to public health emergencies the same,” said AHF Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane who helped lead AHF’s relief efforts in Haiti. “People are starving. People are sick. As a public health organization, people can respond better, more quickly, to situations like this. We have a moral obligation to respond more quickly and to help people in need.”
“It was an honor to tell the story of the AHF Haiti team and how they came together to help thousands of their fellow Haitians all while they were also dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane in their own personal lives,” said AHF Associate Creative Director Stacy Fong. “There were several challenges that come along with filming in a disaster area, but I’m proud of the outcome and hope it’s just the beginning in raising awareness to the needs of this country that will undoubtedly be recovering for years to come.”
AHF is the 2nd largest provider of care to people living with HIV/AIDS in Haiti and provides care at its clinic in Port au Prince as well as through its mobile clinics that reach out to rural populations throughout the country. In addition, AHF provides care to the HIV+ inmate population in the Haiti National Prison System and links newly released inmates to continued care. AHF also has the only contact-tracing program in existence in Haiti, contacting and testing partners of inmates who are found to be HIV+. Through this program, AHF generally identifies two additional people infected with HIV who do not know their status for every prisoner who tests positive and we link those partners into treatment.