Hurricane Matthew: Rising Death Toll, “Utter Despair” in parts of Southern Haiti, CARE scaling up response
Oct 8, 2016
PORT AU PRINCE—Days after Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti, the death toll continues to rise and thousands of Haitians are in need of emergency assistance.
The southern part of Haiti took the biggest hit with some areas still cut off from the rest of the country.
The Haitian government said the storm claimed the lives of 271 people. The death toll is expected to rise as communication lines open up in badly hit areas.
In Les Cayes, on the southern coast, there is severe flooding and in Jeremie, the capital of Grand Anse, strong winds destroyed 80 percent of the buildings.
Some 61,500 people are estimated to be housed in 192 shelters.
Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE Country Director in Haiti, said people in Jeremie were in “utter despair.”
“Haiti is a country that’s wrought with these recurring disasters, they’re a very resilient people, but right now they’re in shock,” he said. “A lot of people have lost their homes, their livelihoods and family members.”
CARE started distributing food and clean water in Jeremie before the cyclone hit the country and has so far provided 9,000 hot meals in evacuation shelters in Port-au-Prince, the southeast and in Grande Anse Departments. And 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.
“The population is very strained,” Vigreux said. “Strengthening people’s resilience will be key to any recovery plan.”
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.
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