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Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti’s south coast on 4 October 2016, claimed the lives of several hundred people, caused great destruction and left hundreds of thousands without a roof over their head. When Hurricane Irma made landfall in September 2017 and again caused huge damage to agriculture and houses, the country had not yet recovered from Hurricane Matthew.
2.35 million Haitians still face an acute lack of food. "Matthew" has devastated large agricultural areas, destroyed the crops in the fields and killed numerous animals. Moreover, in the towns of the south which were particularly badly affected, vital drinking water sources were contaminated. Cases of cholera have increased dramatically.
Caritas Switzerland is supporting those affected with projects worth a total of CHF 3.2 million. With this, it wants to avert the imminent aggravation of the food situation and enable local people to quickly return to a dignified normal life. Swiss Solidarity is supporting this aid.
Caritas Switzerland's running emergency aid: Reconstruction and livelihood security
In the region of Les Cayes (Camp Perrin, Arniquet and Saint-Jean), an emergency relief programme was started in April 2017, in cooperation with the partner organisations Ahaames and Caritas Les Cayes. Caritas is supporting 480 families with building materials and at the same time provides technical guidance to local bricklayers and carpenters on storm-resistant construction methods. To take advantage of the current planting season and secure the next harvest, seedlings and seeds are being distributed to 1500 farmers. Cash-for-work activities enable people to buy additional material for the reconstruction of their houses or to meet other urgent needs. Caritas plans to support these poeple for a longer period of time in order to contribute to sustainable development through and beyond emergency aid and reconstruction.
Completed emergency aid projects
This emergency project follows two other projects in the same region, which Caritas Switzerland carried out immediately after the hurricane with the same partner organisations. The population participated in clearing the fields and removing rubble from a 2.5-kilometre stretch of the irrigation system. About 1770 households where eable to better cultivate their land and prepare for the harvest at the end of summer. Financial assistance and utensils were provided for this work. In addition, 7 tons of maize and 18 tons of beans were distributed to 1550 farming households, as well as 600,000 seedlings of sweet potato and 500,000 seedlings of manioc. Caritas also provided food and cholera kits to the people via its local partner organisation Caritas Les Cayes and conducted awareness-raising campaigns on the subject of cholera. Financial assitance was also provided by transferring money directly to particularly hard hit families (2,700 households) via the local telecommunications company.
Caritas also completed a project in the area around Léogane (Delatte and Gros Morne) to the south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince.1,270 farming families received fast-maturing seeds and beans. In addition, Caritas distributed nails and corrugated sheets to 1,360 households so they could repair their houses. To 30 schools, corrugated iron roofs have been distributed, allowing regular lessons to be resumed. Caritas also helped with road repairs.
Houses constructed by Caritas Switzerland were not destroyed
The five larger education centres which Caritas constructed after the 2010 earthquake withstood the hurricane. 2,500 children are able to attend school there. The 600 earthquake-proof houses that were built after the earthquake are also largely undamaged.