On Tuesday 4th October, Hurricane Matthew swept through southwest Haiti, leaving a trail of destruction and tens of thousands of people in urgent need of help. The effects of the storm are only now becoming clear, with mobile communications being knocked out and the main bridge between the southwest and the capital being destroyed.
The people of Haiti are no stranger to disaster, with many still living in makeshift shelters following the 2010 earthquake. Add to this 145mph winds and up to 3 feet of rain, and the potential for devastation is clear. Around 900 people are known to have lost their lives and it is expected that this figure may increase as more areas become accessible. 60,000 people are in temporary shelters, crops have been destroyed, livestock swept away and, because of the flood water mixing with sewage, there are growing fears of a cholera outbreak following the deaths of 13 people from the disease.
Bishops’ Appeal is partnering with Christian Aid to respond to Hurricane Matthew. Having worked in Haiti for over 20 years, Christian Aid has been on the ground since last Tuesday assessing the damage and working out how to best help the people of Haiti get back on their feet as soon as possible. Their initial response has involved providing the basics: food, clothing and shelter. In the coming weeks and months, the response will involve helping the people rebuild sustainable livelihoods.