“We don’t currently have the financial resources to provide an adequate response to a disaster of this magnitude," explains Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response. "Needs are enormous and varied. Our teams are making every effort to meet people’s essential needs, but we don’t have the means to ensure people are able to get through this latest ordeal, or to help them recover again."
Deployment of mobile teams
Two teams each including a project manager specialized in special needs, particularly rehabilitation, a psychological support project manager, a physical therapist, and social worker were deployed to Les Cayes to provide needs assessment for the injured. After assessing the hospitals and rehabilitation services, each team will supply mobility aids–wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers–to individuals injured by Hurricane Matthew.
“Haitians are very resilient, but a lot of people have been psychologically shaken by the hurricane," explains Fanélie Rabanx, head of the psychosocial project. "They need to express their feelings as part of their recovery. We’re setting up discussion groups as a first step to help people overcome their trauma."
Distributions of emergency kits
Handicap International is distributing emergency kits each containing a toolbox, rope, fastenings, sheets, as well as other items that people can use to build shelters. The organization plans to distribute hygiene kits and essential household items–jerrycans and torches–to prevent the spread of disease like cholera, with the number of infections already high in specific areas including Chardonnières, located in the Sud region.
“When the hurricane hit our neighborhood, Fondrède, I really thought it was all over," explains Inès Virgile, 32, mother of five children. "The roof of our home fell on top of us and we escaped to our neighbor’s house. We didn’t stay long because we didn’t want to be a burden on them. We’re now back in our home, but we don’t have a roof or any crops. We’ve lost everything."
“Our priority is to enable casualties, families who have lost everything, and the most isolated people to access humanitarian services,” adds Hélène Robin.
Due to the difficulty accessing certain areas of Haiti affected by the storm and in order to access the most isolated communities, Handicap International beefed up its team of logistics specialists. HI will organize the transport of humanitarian aid by sea using the services of local carriers with boats or by road and distribute to the most vulnerable, even the most isolated people.
Humanitarian situation in Haiti
- Number of people affected by Hurricane Matthew: 2.1 million
- People in need of humanitarian assistance: 1.4 million
- Displaced people: 175,500
- Homes destroyed: 146,000