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Hurricane Matthew: Handicap International emergency teams assess the scale of the disaster in Haiti

by Handicap International UK | hi_uk | Handicap International - UK
Friday, 7 October 2016 18:04 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Handicap International teams are reporting massive damages and material losses. The impact of the disaster is still uncertain for large sections of the population, which remain isolated and without any means of communication. Handicap International has deployed an emergency team to provide backup support to its existing teams on the ground.

More than one million people have been exposed to extremely violent winds. Torrential rain, with up to 40 cm a day falling on the regions of Nippes and Gonave Island, is likely to have caused floods and landslides.

The first testimonies gathered by our teams in Haiti reveal heavy material losses. On Île-à-Vache which lies in the Baie de Cayes, the coastal villages appear to have been completely destroyed by floods. The town of Jérémie has suffered massive damage. The two main hospitals in the department of Grand’Anse (Jérémie and Dame-Marie) appear to be no longer in operation. Hundreds of thousands of people are still cut off from the world and all humanitarian aid. They need immediate assistance because they probably lack drinking water and do not have roofs to protect them from the weather” explains Helene Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency response. “There is also a heightened risk of epidemics such as cholera and stocks of medication and prevention equipment have probably been destroyed by the hurricane or remain inaccessible.”

Handicap International emergency team arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday morning to provide backup support to teams already in the field. They will assess the scale of the disaster, organise immediate humanitarian response and help all humanitarian organisations access isolated areas.

“It is essential to ensure that the population affected and especially, the most vulnerable people have access to humanitarian aid. Sadly we know from experience that, in a disaster such as Hurricane Matthew, people with disabilities and injuries struggle to access the care they need and can easily find themselves excluded and forgotten” says Aleema Shivji, Director of Handicap International UK.

Handicap International is calling for donations to help the hurricane victims in Haiti  at : https://donate.handicap-international.org.uk/give/haiti/



- Interviews available upon request with field staff in Haiti

- Aleema Shivji, Director of Handicap International UK, is available for interviews. Before becoming UK Director in 2012, Aleema was the head of mission for Handicap International in Haiti, following the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010.

Press contact : Marlene Sigonney, Handicap International UK, Email: media@hi-uk.org, Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737 www.handicap-international.org.uk

Handicap International in Haiti: Handicap International has been in Haiti since 2008. We have a wealth of experience providing emergency rehabilitation care and psychological support, distributing basic needs items and ensuring that the most vulnerable people can access humanitarian aid. In January 2010, Handicap International provided support to tens of thousands of victims.