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Verizon offers free calls to Haiti in ‘chaotic’ aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

Around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm system, made landfall in Les Anglais, Haiti. Information is still slowly trickling in regarding the full extent of the damage, with the New York Times reporting “major devastation as the storm felled trees, ripped roofs, and destroyed farms” in the island nation.

For those with loved ones in Haiti, communication at this time is of the essence. And to that end, Verizon is hoping to help connect its customers with family and friends in the wake of the storm. “Verizon is offering free wireless and wireline calling from the United States to Haiti to connect with family and friends,” the mobile service provider said in a statement on Tuesday.

For the next three days (between Tuesday, October 4, and Friday, October 7), Verizon home wireline telephone customers will incur no charges on calls made to Haiti from their U.S. landlines. Moreover, wireless customers will see no charges for either texts or international long distance calls from the States to Haiti.

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Moreover, the provider announced, “Verizon Wireless customers who wish to help with Hurricane Matthew Relief efforts, via mobile phone, can donate by texting 80100 with the word ‘MATTHEW.'” This will result in a $10 donation to aid in relief efforts, as donations are collected on behalf of the GlobalGiving — Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund.

Sadly, the logistics behind getting in touch with those in Haiti may be murky — reports note that much of the island nation has been plunged into darkness as the storm wiped out electrical systems. And although the hurricane itself has passed, what remains of the system might bring up to 40 inches of rain in parts of the country.

According to two U.S. military officials, three American Navy ships have been sent to the Caribbean to help, and Matthew is currently en route to eastern Cuba.