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Haiti: People affected by Hurricane Matthew made more vulnerable by renewed flooding


Haiti is facing its most serious humanitarian emergency since the earthquake of 2010, after Hurricane Matthew made landfall on 4 October. Torrential rain swept through the department of Sud during the night of 20 to 21 October, causing disastrous flooding and heightening the vulnerability of affected communities. Handicap International is providing humanitarian response to victims of the disaster.

Street of Cayes flooded by the rain on October 20th.

Street of Cayes flooded by the rain on October 20th. | © Handicap International

The situation in the southwest and northwest of Haiti is catastrophic. Three weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit the island, 1.25 million people still need humanitarian aid. More than 146,000 homes have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, and more than 175,000 people have been displaced to 224 temporary evacuation centres[1]. To make matters worse, from Thursday 20 to Friday 21 October, torrential rains swept through the department of Sud, already devastated by Hurricane Matthew. The ground is flooded and many roads are completely blocked. The local community, which has already lost its plantations and homes, now has to cope with a new disaster.

Handicap International’s first mobile team is already active in hospitals and group shelters in the department of Sud. The organisation is assessing the situation facing the affected population, which remains highly problematic. Louisema Tilfa, mayor of Chardonnière, a commune in the department of Sud, explains: “Thirty-two out of thirty-four schools have been damaged. Almost all of the buildings have been destroyed, including the town hall. Sixty-nine temporary shelters have been built with the few homes still standing. And people have had practically no help at all.”

There has been a major outbreak of cholera in Randel. More than 1,600 people were injured by Hurricane Matthew, and there aren’t any health centres to treat them.

They need to travel to Les Cayes for care. In our commune, the three priorities are ‘health, food and housing’

?Abner Verville, director of the mayor’s office in Randel 

Handicap International is also providing the injured and disabled with basic rehabilitation care, distributing walking aids and identifying the most vulnerable people in need of special support.
A second mobile team is being put together now and will join the organisation’s response shortly.

Handicap International is also planning to distribute emergency “shelter” kits [2] (containing a toolbox, rope, fastenings, sheets, etc.), so that people can build shelters and live in more comfortable conditions.

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