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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.
Hundreds of thousands of 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.
Immediately after the hurricane: Emergency aid
Immediately after the hurricane, Caritas Switzerland launched an on-the-spot emergency response programme in the Les Cayes region in the southwest of the country and in the Léogane area (Delatte and Gros Morne) southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince. It provided food aid and cholera prevention; people were given husbandry support to restore agricultural land, and fast-growth sowing seeds and seedlings were handed out. Building materials for house repairs were distributed, schools were restored to a state which enabled classes to be taught again, and cut-off remote areas were made re-accessible. Cash-for-work activities enabled people to buy more materials to rebuild their homes or meet other urgent needs. Particularly hard-hit families received direct financial aid.
Today: Rebuilding and a secure livelihood
To provide the population with long-term support, and to contribute to sustainable development, in February 2018, after completion of the emergency aid phase, Caritas launched a project focussing on sustainable livelihoods. It benefits 5608 families in the communities of St. Jean, Arniquet and Camp-Perrin. Through its partner organizations Caritas Les Cayes and Ahaames, Caritas Switzerland provides local craftsmen with techniques for constructing cyclone-safe buildings and has materials sent in for the rebuilding of 170 houses. 3411 farmers receive sowing seeds and agricultural equipment from Caritas and are assisted by specialists in agricultural production. In addition, 1200 goats were distributed, with veterinarians accompanying the beneficiaries in the care and rearing of the animals. Diverse cash-for-work activities enable 2264 families to contribute to restoring productivity of agricultural land and repairing irrigation systems, which in turn enables them to earn money for urgently-needed food, additional construction materials or school fees.