Thousands of people in Haiti and Cuba are in need of help following the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew. The Category 4 Hurricane struck southern Haiti and Cuba on October 4, 2016 destroying homes, food crops, water supplies, and, in Haiti, raising fears of the spread of cholera.
Massive amounts of rainfall caused severe flooding particularly in Les Cayes and Grande Anse in the southern peninsula of Haiti, leaving thousands of people in need of emergency assistance. For example, approximately 80 per cent of the buildings were destroyed in Jeremie, the capital of Grande Anse.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has confirmed that the storm has claimed the lives of 372 people. Some 2.1 million people have been affected by the hurricane with 1.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance. It is estimated that 175,509 people are still living in temporary shelters, 806,000 people are in need of urgent food assistance, and 5,840 cases of cholera are suspected.
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.
After leaving Haiti, Hurricane Matthew then hit eastern Cuba. Officials reported significant flooding and waves up to five meters (16 feet) in coastal villages. Cuban authorities evacuated some 500,000 people, and there are no current reports of fatalities.
Initial reports indicate that Guantanamo province and Holguin province are the most affecteded areas. Baracoa, in Holguin province, is the one major city in the hurricane's path, and there has been widespread damage. Strong winds, rain and coastal flooding persist in some areas of eastern Cuba. Reports include damage to schools, houses and other infrastructure as well as landslides.
When Hurricane Matthew slammed into the Southern peninsula of Haiti, it destroyed the majority of crops and livestock. Three months later, there are 800,000 people in urgent need of food assistance leaving the country at risk of a food crisis.
Families have lost household food supplies and local shops and markets have also been affected, leaving many families without food. Loss of livelihoods and destruction of crops is also expected to affect food security in coming weeks and months.
The hurricane also damaged water supply systems and contaminated other water sources. Sanitation facilities are equally vulnerable to destruction in the context of a storm like this, increasing the potential for contamination of surrounding areas and the likelihood of increased incidences of disease such as cholera.
Due to the rudimentary nature of houses in rural areas and in poorer sections of urban areas, thousands of buildings and homes have been severely damaged or destroyed.
To help us ensure that we can send help where it is needed most, CARE Canada has set up the Emergency Response Fund. Donate to the Emergency Response Fund and help CARE immediately respond to emergencies like Hurricane Matthew and rush aid where it is urgently needed.
In the immediate wake of the hurricane, CARE distributed nearly 90,000 hot meals to those impacted. Now as we turn towards helping people rebuild, CARE has provided some seeds for farmers to replant their crops and will begin cash transfers for people to purchase food in the local market. This will allow people to choose what food items their families need while also stimulating the local economy and farmers.
In Cuba, CARE is planning to provide household hygiene kits, shelter support and reconstruction material for 26,000 affected people in Guantanamo and Holguin provinces.