Hurricane Matthew, one of the most powerful storms to reach the Caribbean in almost a decade, has hit Haiti with winds of 145 miles an hour. Incessant rain and storm surges went on to cause severe flooding.
When Hurricane Matthew hit, many people were still living in temporary shelter having been made homeless by Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. These conditions make people more vulnerable both to the storm’s immediate effects and the risks they will face in coming weeks and months.
The scale of the damage is not yet known as many areas have been left inaccessible by the storm, but initial assessments show southern Haiti has been worst hit. Many buildings have been damaged including two of our partner IDEJEN’s training centres in Gressier and Les Cayes.
Haiti’s government estimate that 750,000 people need immediate assistance and more than 60,000 have been displaced. At least 336 people have died. With cholera and other water-borne diseases expected to pose a risk in coming weeks, the death toll is likely to rise if urgent action is not taken.
Y Care International’s Disaster Resilience and Response Advisor, Meghna Manaktala says, “We are in contact with our partners on the ground who are currently assessing the situation to get a better understanding of people’s needs. Whilst shelter, water and sanitation are expected to be their most immediate needs, people will need longer-term support.”
IDEJEN is supporting the community of Port Salut in southern Haiti where houses have lost roofs and many belongings have been destroyed. Guerda Previlon, head of IDEJEN, says, “There was flooding in all the communes, and children and young people are in the streets with nothing.”
Beyond the immediate impact, people will need help finding homes and rebuilding businesses that have been affected by the disaster.