As powerful Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Haiti, CARE is preparing to respond to this potentially devastating storm with clean drinking water, food assistance and emergency supplies such as tarps for shelter, blankets and hygiene kits.
“Hurricane Matthew could have devastating impacts in Haiti, as the country has not experienced a storm of this magnitude since 1954. The people of Haiti were already suffering from a drought as a result of El Nino, and now they will likely endure the shock of torrential flooding as a result of this storm,” said Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE Country Director in Haiti. “The biggest needs following the storm will be clean drinking water as the anticipated flooding will contaminate the water supply.”
CARE has been working with the government since Saturday to disseminate Hurricane warning messages on the radio for people to evacuate from at-risk areas.
“With the amount of rain expected, thousands are vulnerable to extreme flooding and mudslides due to deforestation in Haiti. The earlier people can get to shelters, the better, which is what we are emphasizing now,” said Vigreux. “We have also pre-positioned supplies in areas that will be difficult to access after the storm hits, and have started distributing food to people who have evacuated to emergency shelters.”
As one of the largest humanitarian agencies in Haiti, CARE has staff dispersed throughout the country ready to respond. CARE has deployed staff to the Grand Anse, a department on the southern peninsula of Haiti, where access will be difficult after the storm. There, supplies such as clean drinking water, tarps and blankets for emergency shelter and hygiene kits, are pre-positioned for quick distribution.
CARE has been working in Haiti since 1954, following the devastating Hurricane Hazel that killed over around 1,000 people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, CARE reached more than 290,000 people with food, clean water, temporary shelter and other vital services. Along with responding to emergencies, CARE implements long-term development programs such as education, food and livelihoods and women’s economic empowerment that build the resilience of the most vulnerable families.
You can find out more about our work in Haiti here.