Tennessee native and resident of Haiti reflects on Hurricane Matthew


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Hurricane Matthew slammed a portion of southwestern Haiti with 145 mile per hour winds.

Disaster assessment teams are working to evaluate the effects of the storm that killed at least five people and caused massive flooding.

Karen Broyles and her husband Michael grew up in East Tennessee, but call Haiti home.

“We’ve been there for the past ten years,” said Broyles.

Michael and their two children, Elijah and Kaydence, are still in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, where they live.

Karen Broyles said that is about a 12 hour drive away from some of the hardest hit areas.

“Our homes, we’ve had some trees down, some minor things, but not the devastation that we’ve seen outside the city,” said Broyles.

Right now her husband, who’s a pilot for the non-profit Mission Aviation Fellowship, is doing survey flights, to get a firsthand view of the damage.

“The roads are damaged, flooding has destroyed most of the bridges between Port-au-Prince which is where most things originate from and go out, so right now we’re just trying to establish were we can land, where we can get in to get aid and where it needs to go,” said Broyles.

Thanks to technology, Broyles was able to talk to Michael and her children shortly after the storm passed.

“I was just thankful to the Lord that my children were spared and my grandchildren were safe,” said Shirley Barr, Karen’s mom.

“I’m excited and thrilled to be able to be in touch with them, but in the back of my mind I’m still thinking about our friends that we have not heard from, the friends we are concerned about, the people we haven’t been able to get in touch with,” said Broyles.

Still, Karen Broyles is staying positive.

“It’s going to be a long road ahead but our Haitian brothers and sisters are resilient, they’re strong,” Broyles said.

Broyles said she has all the confidence the country so close to her heart can rebuild.

Karen Broyles told News Channel 11 her husband returned from a survey flight along Haiti’s south coast Wednesday. He described the scene as complete devastation.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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