|Posted on:||Wednesday, 5th October, 2016|
Yesterday, Haiti was hit by its worst storm in decades. CBM staff in Haiti are urgently attempting to make contact with our partners in the country to assess the impact of Hurricane Matthew and the support needed.
Hurricane Matthew brought winds of up to 145 miles per hour and up to three feet of rainfall, causing major flooding and mudslides. Roofs were torn off buildings and shoulder-height flood waters have been reported in the south-west of the country. At least 7 people are reported to have died in Haiti and neighbouring Dominican Republic, but the death toll is expected to rise significantly as many of the most affected areas are cut off from communication.
CBM staff in Port au Prince are urgently trying to make contact with our partners, particularly in the south of the country, to find out how they have been affected and establish what support is needed. An estimated 1 in 7 people in Haiti 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.
Stefan Dofel, CBM's Regional Director for Latin America, expressed his concern last night:
“We are in contact with our colleagues and partners in Cuba and Haiti. While our partner in Cuba the Council of Cuban Churches is preparing for the storm that is expected to arrive this night, Haiti has already been hit hard. There are reports of people dead in the affected areas, and in Port-au-Prince where we have our community-based projects, children with disabilities and their families are reported to be looking for shelters. We are very concerned.”
CBM has been working in Haiti for over 30 years, providing medical and rehabilitation services and supporting men, women and children with disabilities. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas; thousands of people are still living in tents or shanty towns following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
Main image: Flood waters in Les Cayes, southern Haiti, 4th October (c) rpolynice 2016
Image above right: CBM partner distributes food relief to blind people after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti (c) CBM 2010