Haiti Update: “The entire city has been destroyed”


Haiti’s capital, Jérémie, part of the Grand’Anse region, is one of the cities most affected by Hurricane Matthew. Romel, a young man in his thirties, described the conditions in his city.

“I live in Caracolie, a neighborhood of Jérémie. When you climb the hills around the city, you can see everything because it has been totally destroyed. The city is bare and the landscape has been devastated. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen that. I can hardly believe it. 

Most of the trees are down and just a few concrete houses survived the strong winds. The colonial buildings have been completely demolished. 

The streets are thick with mud and rubbish. The health centers are out of operation. Only the general hospital, the biggest hospital in the city, is treating the injured, even though it’s been damaged. 

Telephone communications were only restored on Friday night. Just one network is working and it’s very poor. But we still don’t have electricity. The city’s supply hasn’t been restored yet. Some people are trying to get by with generators or solar panels. 

Petrol stations are out of action because they’re flooded with mud and dirty water. There’s already a black market. A gallon of petrol (around 3.78 liters) that used to cost 195 gourdes ($3.03) now sells at 500 gourdes ($7.76) but even so it’s impossible to find.

And I don’t know when the schools will be able to open again because all the wooden schools have been destroyed. The surviving schools are being used as temporary shelters for people affected by the disaster.

Tomorrow I’m going to the countryside to check on my family. According to them, the situation is worse there than it is in the city.”

Present in Haiti since 2008, Handicap International will deploy its teams in the island’s Sud-ouest and Nord-ouest regions to supply aid to people affected by Hurricane Matthew. Its teams present during the disaster and its backup team of emergency specialists are working to provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable people. Their priorities are to help transport aid to the most vulnerable and provide the injured with rehabilitation care and psychosocial support to people suffering from trauma. The organization is also planning to distribute sheets and rope that families can use to build shelters. Handicap International also expects to distribute cooking kits, water purification tablets, and special aids like crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers. Learn more about our work in Haiti.