Renewed flooding in Haiti causes deeper problems

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The situation in the southwest and northwest of Haiti is catastrophic. 1.25 million people still need humanitarian aid, three weeks following Hurricane Matthew. More than 146,000 homes have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, and more than 175,000 people have been displaced to 224 temporary evacuation centers. To make matters worse, earlier this week, torrential rains swept through the region of Sud, already devastated by the hurricane, and flooded many roads making them impassable. The local community, which has already lost plantations and homes, now has to cope with a new disaster.

Handicap International’s mobile team is active in hospitals and group shelters in Sud. The organization is assessing the situation facing the affected population, which remains highly problematic. Louisema Tilfa, mayor of Chardonnière, a commune in the region of Sud, explains: “Thirty-two out of 34 schools have been damaged. Almost all of the buildings have been destroyed, including the town hall. Sixty-nine temporary shelters have been built with the few homes still standing. And people have had practically no help at all.”

Abner Verville, director of the mayor’s office in Randel, continues: “There has been a major outbreak of cholera in Randel. More than 1,600 people were injured by Hurricane Matthew, and we don’t have any health centers to treat them–they need to travel to Les Cayes for care. In our commune, the three priorities are health, food, and housing.”

Handicap International provides basic rehabilitative care to people with injuries and disabilities by distributing walking aids­–wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers–and identifies the most vulnerable people in need of special support. A second mobile team is mobilizing and will join the organization’s response shortly in Haiti.

Handicap International is also planning to distribute emergency “shelter” kits, supplied by ShelterBox–containing a toolbox, rope, fastenings, sheets, etc.–so that people can build shelters and live in more comfortable conditions.