Haiti: Hurricane Matthew continues to wreak havoc
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on 4 October 2016. One month on, 1.4 million people still need humanitarian aid. The south and north of the country were also recently hit by intense rainfall, and many roads are completely blocked by floods. Handicap International continues to provide emergency response to victims of the disaster.
HI physio Jeannica during a rehabilitation session with Velium | Handicap International
“We still don’t have the financial resources to provide an adequate response to a disaster of this magnitude. We don’t have the means to ensure people receive support as they struggle to get to grips with this latest ordeal, or to help them recover again. Hurricane Matthew continues to wreak havoc in some inaccessible areas and people are dying in silence,” explains Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response. “But our teams are doing everything necessary to help the population.”
Rehabilitation and psychosocial support
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the organisation deployed two mobile teams of three experts to Les Cayes to care-manage the injured. Each team assessed conditions in the city’s hospitals and its rehabilitation services, supplied wheelchairs, crutches and walking frames, organised rehabilitation sessions and provided psychological support to victims of the disaster. Additional teams are being formed and will soon be deployed to the city of Les Cayes, then Jérémie.
Distributions of emergency kits, hygiene kits and household items
Handicap International is also planning to distribute emergency kits to provide people with a roof over their heads and decent living conditions, and hygiene kits and essential household items to stop the spread of epidemics such as cholera. The organisation has already deployed two emergency doctors to the department of Les Nippes to identify the most vulnerable people in the region and to organise the distribution of 1,000 kits.
Including the most vulnerable people
“In the Grande Anse and Sud departments, we are also identifying the most vulnerable people – isolated heads of households, pregnant women, older people and people with disabilities – and we are providing support to humanitarian actors to make sure they include the most vulnerable people and give them access to humanitarian services,” adds Hélène Robin.
Serious logistical obstacles are making it more difficult for Handicap International to meet the needs of people affected by the disaster: “Following the hurricane, many roads have been blocked and bridges damaged. In the south and north of the country heavy flooding has also made it difficult to travel and to access people in need,” explains Hélène Robin.
To help transport humanitarian aid to remote areas by sea and land, Handicap International has set up a logistics platform in the cities of Les Cayes and Jérémie. “The aim is to enable humanitarian actors working in remote areas to receive items for local people and to distribute them to people who need them,” explains Hélène Robin.