Calgary man helping with hurricane relief in the Bahamas (October 11, 2016)

Written by Yolanda Cole

Published by Calgary Herald on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Calgary resident Michael Dytynyshyn has participated in various disaster response efforts since he began working for Samaritan’s Purse Canada in 2010.

He was in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010, in Japan in 2011 after the tsunami, in the Philippines following the 2013 typhoon, and in Greece last year in response to the refugee crisis in Europe. 

Now, Dytynyshyn is handing out emergency kits in Freeport, Bahamas, after Hurricane Matthew blew roofs off houses, broke windows, downed trees, damaged the municipal water system and left the city without power.

“They’re used to hurricanes here, but everyone’s saying that this is the worst that they’ve lived through, and you can tell. Even the folks that are out today volunteering . . . they’re still shaken up and dealing with the trauma that they just went through,” Dytynyshyn said by phone from Freeport.

Local volunteers are helping cut tarps into sections to cover homes that were left without roofs or with sections missing.

“People are very thankful, especially for the tarps,” he said. “If it starts raining again, people are going to have water in their houses and they’ll lose even more.”

Dytynyshyn is part of a five-member disaster relief team from Samaritan’s Purse in the Bahamas. The organization has a much larger team helping in Haiti, where 1,000 people were reportedly killed by the hurricane.

The emergency kits being handed out in the Bahamas also include blankets, water filters and hygiene kits. Dytynyshyn said the kits will be distributed to 2,000 families affected by the storm.

Dytynyshyn said this trip, in addition to the other disaster relief missions he has participated in, have allowed him to see “the resiliency in people.”

“You also see people in need that wouldn’t normally be in need, so we’re here to help and show some love,” he said. 

The Calgary resident will be in the Bahamas until Friday.

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