Hurricane Matthew – three months on

Posted on: Wednesday, 4th January, 2017

Three months after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti on  4th October 2016, CBM is helping people with disabilities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

Hurricane Matthew killed more than 1,000 people, causing huge damage in Haiti,  the poorest country in the Americas.  Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in temporary shelters such as schools as their homes were damaged or destroyed. More than a million people have left without access to essentials such as water and adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities.

Renee’s story

Renee remembers vividly the day the hurricane struck. He thought he would die as his house crumbled around him.Hurricane Matthew - Haiti - October 2016. Communications visit December 2016. Rene showing CBM Community Worker Homer Auguste what is left of his house in Torbeck, Haiti after Hurricane Matthew made landfall. Read full story in CBM Media Database.  “It just came and destroyed everything”, he says. The 66 year old is blind – he lost his sight to glaucoma 16 years ago - and didn’t want to leave his home as he finds it hard to cope away from his familiar surroundings. Renee is thankful to be alive but he has nothing left and feels lost away from his familiar home and environment.

Access to emergency relief

People with disabilities often struggle to access vital services after emergencies, so CBM is working closely with local disabled people’s organisations and the Office of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (BSEIPH) in the most affected areas to ensure people with disabilities are identified and interviewed so that they are actively involved in CBM’s emergency response programme.

CBM has been providing accessible wells and water pumps so they can access clean water and hygiene sources and stop the spread of deadly diseases.

Over 1900 people with disabilities have already been reached in Sud and Grande Anse districts. 

Rebuilding lives and communities

With our local partners, we're helping people with disabilities and their families to  rebuild their homes and livelihoods, and to access psychological support to deal with the trauma caused by the disaster.

Farms and market gardens were devastated by the hurricane, so we're distributing seeds, tools, chickens and goats to help restore livelihoods.  We’re helping rebuild specialist schools that were damaged in the storm so that children with disabilities can return to school, and repair rehabilitation centres that offer vital services to people with disabilities and injuries.

Disability and emergencies

An estimated 1 in 7 people across the world live with some form of disability. At times of disaster, they are among the most affected and the last to receive help.  They may not be able to see, hear or understand warning messages and may find it difficult to access life-saving relief, such as food, water, shelter or medical support.

CBM has over 100 years’ experience of providing relief and recovery for people living with and at risk of disabilities, at times of crisis, including the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010.

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