October 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Haitian HIV/AIDS group contributing to hurricane relief efforts

Hurricane Matthew, gay news, Washington Blade

Hurricane Matthew damage near Jérémie, Haiti (Photo courtesy of Reginald Dupont/Fondation SEROvie)

A Haitian HIV/AIDS service organization is working to support relief efforts in a city that Hurricane Matthew devastated earlier this month.

Reginald Dupont, executive director of Fondation SEROvie, which is based in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, told the Washington Blade on Sunday from Jérémie that his organization is working to provide clothing, food and other items to those who survived the hurricane.

Jérémie is a city of more than 30,000 people that is located on the Tiburon Peninsula in southwest Haiti.

Matthew made landfall on Oct. 4 with winds of more than 140 mph and torrential rains that caused widespread floods and mudslides.

The Associated Press cited Haitian officials who said Matthew killed more than 500 people in the hurricane-ravaged city that is roughly 170 miles west of Port-au-Prince.

The New York Times said Matthew destroyed more than 80 percent of Jérémie’s buildings. The hurricane also caused a bridge that had linked the Tiburon Peninsula on which the city is located to the rest of Haiti to collapse.

Matthew has also exacerbated a cholera epidemic that began in 2010.

Dupont told the Blade that his uncle is among those who died during the hurricane. He described the conditions in Jérémie as “miserable” and “hellish.”

“They are living in inhuman conditions,” said Dupont.

Dupont said discrimination and fears of “being beaten up” by people who believe their sexual orientation has caused the natural disasters — including a 2010 earthquake — that have ravaged the area in recent years.

“We have already made our first distribution of aid,” Dupont told the Blade, referring to his organization’s relief efforts. “We are now trying to find contacts among the agencies coordinating humanitarian assistance.”

OutRight Action International has urged its supporters to contribute to SEROvie. The Rainbow World Fund, a San Francisco-based organization, is also collecting donations for Matthew relief efforts it will give to CARE, a non-profit group that works in Haiti.

Hurricane Matthew, gay news, Washington Blade

Hurricane Matthew damage near Jérémie, Haiti (Photo courtesy of Reginald Dupont/Fondation SEROvie)

Hurricane Matthew, gay news, Washington Blade

Hurricane Matthew damage near Jérémie, Haiti (Photo courtesy of Reginald Dupont/Fondation SEROvie)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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