Helping Haiti recover
Hurricane Matthew’s torrential downpours and 145 mph winds felled trees, swept away people and animals, and destroyed up to 90 percent of homes in some areas of the southwestern peninsula.
Over 2.1 million people were affected, and food stocks and crops were destroyed - a critical loss for the entire country because the area is a key food producer for Haiti.
Caritas is focusing on ensuring Haitians have food, clean water and hygiene items, and shelter. Clean water is in short supply and poor sanitation threatens to trigger another outbreak of cholera in the country, a disease that has killed some 10,000 since the 2010 earthquake. Already, new cases are spiking.
“Entire communities have lost not just their houses, but their livelihoods, their schools, their churches and their already-limited health services. They have to start over from zero.”
Chris Bessey, Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA)
Caritas sent engineers to towns in the path of the Hurricane before it struck, so that they could immediately assess structural damage and begin repairs after the storm had passed.
The Caritas confederation is gearing up to provide long-term support to people who’ve survived the hurricane, and an initial programme to help cover people’s immediate needs was launched immediately after the hurricane hit. A longer-term programme will soon take its place.
Caritas secretary general Michel Roy went on a three-day tour of hurricane-effected zones during the week of 17 October to urge people not to forget Haiti.
Before he left for Haiti, he said, “Caritas is calling for a surge of global solidarity to ensure the resources are available to provide support to communities. By walking hand in hand with Haitians during this terrible time, we ensure their suffering will not put on the back-burner.”