Two weeks after Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, 1.4 million are still in need of humanitarian aid and 750,000 require immediate assistance. In Les Cayes, authorities have reported more than 3,000 injuries. Handicap International’s team see an extreme scarcity of healthcare facilities and those that do exist have only limited resources to treat their patients.
The most isolated in the humanitarian response
“For this reason we need to assist the local health structures: supply them with suitable equipment, support them in caring for people with injuries or disabilities and, if necessary, provide training in rehabilitation care,” Hélène Robin, head of emergency response operations at Handicap International explains.
The Handicap International mobile team are working in the hospitals and shelters. They are providing initial rehabilitation care to those with injuries and disabilities, supplying them with walking aids such as wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers, to help them become more independent.
“It is vital that those who cannot get around or are isolated are not left out,” Hélène explains. “As soon as we have the necessary funding, additional mobile teams will be deployed in remote areas, tasked with identifying those who are injured or vulnerable.”
Once identified, the team will travel to the area with the most need. A team of psychosocial support specialists will organize specific activities designed to help people overcome psychological trauma.
Provision of 1,000 shelter kits for the most vulnerable
Ninety percent of homes in the town of Jérémie were destroyed, according the UN. Around 1,250,000 people–including 500,000 children–need safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Handicap International will distribute 1,000 emergency shelter kits, supplied by ShelterBox, as quickly as possible to enable local people to regain access to sustainable sanitation facilities. These kits contain the equipment needed to build emergency shelters or repair houses (toolboxes, ropes, fasteners, tarpaulins, etc.). Hygiene kits are also needed to protect people from cholera–a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water.
A catastrophic situation in the north-west
The north-west is one of the poorest parts of Haiti. The devastation caused by the hurricane has simply exacerbated an already highly precarious situation, with homes either destroyed or very badly damaged, and a lack of hygiene and access to food.
“We are studying the options for interventions in this area which so far has had very little coverage by the humanitarian agencies, in order to prevent the situation of the affected communities and their most vulnerable residents from deteriorating any further,” Hélène Robin explains.