Hurricane Matthew: Massive flooding in Southern Haiti, CARE scaling up response
Oct 6, 2016
PORT AU PRINCE— Hurricane Matthew crawled through Haiti on Tuesday, dumping massive amounts of rain, particularly in the southern peninsula, leaving thousands of Haitians in need of emergency assistance.
“The southern part of Haiti has been particularly heavy hit by Hurricane Matthew and is now cut off from the rest of the country,” said Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE country director in Haiti. “We’re still assessing the impacts, but we know of floods, landslides and continuous heavy rains in some areas of the south. We also have heard of destroyed houses, streets and bridges, dead livestock and destroyed livelihoods.”
Vigreux compared the storm impact to that of Hurricanes Sandy or Hazel.
CARE started distributing food and clean water to over 3,700 people in evacuation shelters in Port-au-Prince, the southeast and in Grande Anse Departments, where the brunt of the storm hit. In the coming days CARE will be scaling up its response aiming to provide tarps and hygiene kits to some 50,000 people.
The storm hit the already vulnerable country where Haitians are still feeling the long-term effects of the 2010 earthquake, subsequent cholera outbreak, two cyclones, one tropical storm and two droughts.
Recent updates from CARE’s team in Jeremie, the capital of Grande Anse, described the scene as complete destruction.
“About 80 per cent of the buildings are gone. Phones and electricity are down. The bank is offline. Access is completely cut off, and people are running out of food and money,” said Vigreux. “Everyone is very shaken up. There’s already been three cases of cholera in the hospital, but there is no electricity or generator. There were five planned shelters and now there are 25 makeshift shelters that have popped up in past 48 hours.”
CARE has been working in Haiti since 1954, following the devastating Hurricane Hazel that left over 1,000 dead. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, CARE reached over 290,000 people with food, clean water, temporary shelter and other vital services. Along with responding to emergencies, CARE implements long-development programs such as education, food and livelihoods and women’s empowerment programs that build the resilience of vulnerable families.
Impact in Cuba
After leaving Haiti, Hurricane Matthew then hit eastern Cuba bringing strong winds, rain, landslides and coastal flooding. While the full extent of the impact remains unclear, early reports include damages to schools, buildings and houses, particularly in Guantanamo and Holguin provinces.
“Thanks to the Cuban government’s early efforts to evacuate residents, it’s expected there will be few casualties from this massive storm,” says Richard Paterson, CARE country representative in Cuba. “However, we are concerned about the long-term impact Matthew will have, especially in poor, rural areas for families whose homes, harvests and livelihoods may have been destroyed.”
CARE’s staff in the region report the needs here will likely focus on shelter, clean water, and restoring livelihoods affected. Together with regional authorities and local partners, CARE’s team is assessing the situation and preparing to respond if required.
CARE has a Canadian spokesperson in Haiti. To arrange an interview, contact:
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org | +1.613.790.2134