In Haiti, iguacu recommends supporting:
After Hurricane Matthew hit on October 4, iguacu launched an investigation with our intelligence network, consulting those best placed to know who are the effective actors on the ground in Haiti. The review has confirmed that Partners in Health, locally known as Zanmi Lasante, remains a robust recommendation for the public. If you wish to support the people of Haiti, we recommend you donate to PIH’s restricted Haiti appeal (501c3) linked here:
With a proven track record in emergency response, a deep local network and a long history of addressing cholera – a major concern post-Matthew – PIH remains strongly recommended by our network.
PIH does not bypass the local authorities. Many NGOs do and this has created considerable dysfunction in Haiti’s development. PIH has a track record of working with the Ministry of Health to build the country’s extremely weak health system. They have strengthened the delivery of comprehensive medical care by building facilities and training Haitian healthcare workers. Following the initial cholera outbreak, PIH built and staffed treatment centers and helped to launch the country’s first cholera vaccination campaign, which targeted 100,000 vulnerable people.
In response to the hurricane, PIH is focusing on reinforcing their 10 cholera treatment centers, vaccinating 729,000 people against cholera, and supporting Hôpital Immaculée Conception in Les Cayes.
On October 4th, 2016 Haiti was hit by Hurricane Matthew. The category 4 hurricane has affected millions and killed over 600 people. Most of the damaged areas are in the South and some were difficult to access due to subsequent landslides, flooding and debris. In total the government estimates that 1.4 million people are in need of aid.
One of the biggest concerns is that the hurricane, which has flooded many parts of the country, will exacerbate the cholera outbreak. Cholera has ravaged Haiti since it was brought to the country in 2010 by Nepali peacekeepers. With a weakened and overburdened health and water system, many experts are worried. Following Hurricane Matthew, in November, over 8.000 new cholera cases were reported. In addition, an increase in diphtheria cases has been observed.
The crisis was made worse as the country was still recovering from a deadly earthquake that hit the country seven years ago.
Haitians left vulnerable to disaster
Environmentally, historically and politically Haiti is one of the most vulnerable nations on earth. Lying in the middle of a hurricane belt Hurricane Matthew came as no surprise. But the country was already weak from an earthquake that hit seven years prior.
In January 2010, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude hit Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince killing more than 200,000 people and injuring an estimated 300,000 more. The financial toll was estimated at $7.8 billion, a little more than 120% of Haiti’s annual GDP.
The lack of opportunities for those living outside Haiti’s capital has led to increased rural-urban migration and the growth of densely populated and poorly built neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince. As a result, over-populated areas with little infrastructure have been susceptible to natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew. The Southern areas of Haiti have been particularly hard hit by the hurricane but Port-au-Prince has also suffered damage.
Before the Hurricane, hundreds of thousands of Haitians were still in need of food assistance. The cholera epidemic that broke out in October 2010 had swept through the country causing the deaths of 9,243 people, with nearly 800, 000 cases between the start of the epidemic until August 2016. The lack of proper sanitation infrastructure in overcrowded neighbourhoods without access to running water or toilets has provided the perfect breeding ground for this preventable disease. Following the earthquake, over US$9 billion in public and private donations were pledged to support the recovery. And, seven years on, results have fallen short of expectations.
Criticism has plagued reconstruction efforts, in which accountability to affected populations has often been perceived as lacking. While NGOs, charities and UN agencies have accomplished a great deal of lifesaving work, more work is needed for native Haitians to be adequately included in decision-making processes.
Many advocates have called for the response to Hurricane Matthew to be more thoughtful and more coordinated this time around. Experts have reminded the public that funding NGOs that work with the government to facilitate longer term development is crucial.
What sectors need your support?
Hurricane Matthew has affected 2.1 million people including 894.000 children. We know that the priority sectors for Haiti right now are health, water and sanitation, and shelter. More than 175.000 people have been displaced by the disaster, or have been evacuated, and the government is ill-equipped to provide shelter for everyone. With damaged health facilities, flooding and a weakened water system, water and health are huge concerns for Haiti in the coming months as well. With an active cholera outbreak, deaths from the deadly water borne disease are on the rise.
This small Caribbean country has a unique and impressive history. It was the first ever black colony to gain independence, which issued a Declaration of Independence only a few decades after the USA. Through a 13 year slave rebellion, Haiti managed to fight off the mightiest army of the time, France, and gained independence in 1803.
But Haitians now face a severe humanitarian crisis and look to the world for help.
Haiti photos (top to bottom): MFSC / CC BY 2.0, Olav A. Saltbones / Norwegian Red Cross / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Alison Wright / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Alex Proimos / CC BY-NC 2.0 Map: The World Factbook.
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