Haiti hurricane

A woman stands outside her storm-damaged home

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The strongest tropical storm in decades brought destruction to the lives of more than a million people

The crisis in brief

Already one of the poorest countries in the world, and still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti faces a major rebuilding effort following the destruction caused to communities, lives and livelihoods by the strongest hurricane to hit the country for decades.

What we are doing

CARE was among the first relief organisations on the ground distributing aid in the South-East and the Grand Anse departments, the hardest hit areas of the country. We provided emergency shelter materials, food, water and hygiene kits, and will be providing long-term support to local communities to help them recover and rebuild.

Background

Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on 4 October 2016, leaving death and destruction in its wake, particularly in the southern regions. The strongest tropical storm to hit the country for decades, the severe winds and torrential rain caused huge damage, particularly to poor communities where homes are often constructed of makeshift materials and built on marginal land prone to flooding and landslides. Following the storm, the need for humanitarian assistance was stark:

  • more than 1.4 million people needed assistance – including 592,000 children and 546,000 women of reproductive age
  • more than 141,000 people were living in temporary shelters – 15% of them are children under 5 years old
  • cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported in shelters – 125,00 children were estimated to be in need of protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
  • more than 200,000 houses severely damaged
  • extensive damage to crops throughout the South which is a major source of food production for Haiti – meaning food is running low in local markets and economic activity has plummeted
  • more than 800,000 people are in urgent need of food
  • many areas inaccessible due to blocked roads from debris and fallen trees
  • more than 1,600 schools destroyed or damaged, leaving nearly 150,000 children out of school
  • water supplies contaminated by flooding with hundreds of confirmed cholera cases – proper hygiene is critical to help contain the spread of the disease.
Our response

Before the storm hit, CARE prepositioned emergency supplies and in the first few days after the hurricane we delivered 55,000 hot meals and clean drinking water to over 25,000 affected people in the emergency shelters in Grand’Anse, South, South-East, and Port-au-Prince. Our response included:

  • distributing shelter kits (tarpaulins and rope) in Grand Anse department
  • distributing bottled water, hygiene kits and water purification tablets, and organising hygiene awareness session, in the South-East and Grand Anse departments
  • distributing food including hot meals in temporary shelters
  • preparing to begin cash distributions so that people can buy food and other supplies according to their need
  • preparing to implement cash-based activities to aid with clearing debris, repairing damaged structures, protecting infrastructure, etc
  • rebuilding roofs and rehabilitating sanitation facilities in six schools in Grand Anse.

We will continue to coordinate closely with the government and UN community to scale up our response to meet the immediate needs of affected people. This will be a long-term response that will take years for the Haitian people to recover from, but Haitians are resilient and are eager to rebuild their lives. CARE has a strong history of working in these communities, and we will be partnering with the Haitian people to help them rebuild their own communities.

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