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Following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on Tuesday 4th October, large swathes of the affected area remain inaccessible, making it difficult to assess the impact of the storm. The strength of the hurricane, its scale, and the poverty of the areas affected suggest significant humanitarian needs. Handicap International is preparing to send an emergency team to Haiti to assist victims of the disaster, in addition to its team already on the ground.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in southern Haiti on Tuesday 4 October, bringing strong winds, torrential rain, flooding and landslides to more than 25% of the country, mainly the Grand’Anse and Sud departments. A large part of the affected area is still inaccessible due in particular to the destruction of a bridge linking Port-Au-Prince to the towns of Cayes and Jérémie.
We already know that this disaster has caused considerable damage to the Grand Sud region, where more than 10,000 people have been evacuated to over 300 temporary shelters. Authorities in the town of Cayes are reporting head-height flood waters.
“The first reports to reach us are worrying. Lots of people have lost their homes, plantations and cattle. Shortages are very likely, particularly of food and essential household items," explains Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response.
"The logistics of reaching these areas and supplying humanitarian aid to the isolated people who need it are going to be challenging, because they are very difficult to access. We are also worried that the flooding caused by the hurricane will lead to major health risks, such as cholera epidemics.”
To assist victims of the disaster, Handicap International will send an emergency team to Haiti on Thursday, in addition to our staff already on the ground. This team will focus on providing logistics support at the request of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and will assess the needs of people affected by the disaster.
After passing over Haiti, the hurricane continued its trajectory and made landfall in the Dominican Republic and the eastern tip of Cuba, where more than 300,000 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters. It is currently moving towards the south-eastern United States.
Handicap International in Haiti and Cuba
Handicap International has been present in Cuba since 1998 in the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Guantanamo. The organisation has been present in Haiti since 2008, in the region of Port-au-Prince, department of Nippes, municipality of Delmas, municipality of Carrefour, and the departments of Artibonite and Nord. Following the earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, Handicap International provided support to tens of thousands of victims.
Handicap International UK has launched an emergency appeal to support disabled and vulnerable people affected by the disaster in Haiti : Please donate now