West Michigan Haitians anxiously watching Hurricane Matthew

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Native Haitians in West Michigan are concerned about Hurricane Matthew and the damage it has caused to the island nation.

Joas Occes is the pastor at International Church of the Nazarene. He says he’s been monitoring the news.

"Any hurricane, major or small hurricane, when it comes to Haiti, it's going to be devastation," Occes said.

Most the congregation at the church, just off Bristol Road NW on Grand Rapids' Northwest Side, is Haitan. Occes still has family in the Northern part of Haiti.

More: Florida, Carolinas brace for fury of Hurricane Matthew

"First of all, we're going to think about praying for Haiti," he said. "Praying for our brothers and sisters. Praying for the kids."

The eye of the hurricane on Tuesday, Oct. 4, passed over the southwestern side of Haiti. It's less populated than the northern region that was previously devastated by the earthquake in 2010. Occes is still concerned about the infrastructure.

"We don't have the buildings that are safe," he said. "We don't have electricity everywhere, don't have clean water everywhere."

Occes says he will continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew. So far, his friends and family in Northern Haiti are reporting only wind in rain, but news reports out of other areas indicate major damage.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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