Haitians Displaced by Hurricane Matthew Left Even More Vulnerable to the Next Storm

A Refugees International (RI) team recently returned from Haiti, where they traveled to Grand’Anse and Sud Departments to assess humanitarian and protection needs stemming from Hurricane Matthew, which devastated parts of the country in October 2016. While it’s been nearly five months since the storm hit, a slow response and lack of international attention to the crisis have left many even more vulnerable than before.

Tarpaulins are still visible everywhere in the worst hit areas of Haiti which were provided by aid agencies to help meet the emergency shelter needs of the 370,000 people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. However,  the lack of more durable shelter solutions has left people extremely vulnerable to recurrent displacement come the next hurricane season in June.
Along with thousands of other buildings, this church in Southern Haiti was severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew, the strongest storm to hit this part of the country in more than 50 years.
Repairing homes remains one of the largest challenges facing Haiti and hundreds of thousands whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm, especially for those in the more remote, mountain communities. While work is ongoing, progress remains hampered by logistical and funding challenges.
Water and sanitation remains a priority for the humanitarian response. Access to clean water is difficult in most areas, and fears of cholera outbreaks remain. These children are accessing potable water through a neighborhood project run by an international non-governmental organization. Community members reported only having access to unclean well water for an extended period following Hurricane Matthew. Access to clean water following a disaster is critical in any disaster recovery.
After the hurricane, pots and pans found scattered across surrounding neighborhoods were often the only possessions left for families who lost their homes and almost all of their possessions in the storm.
Standing in the spot where her house once stood, a mother explains that she has no resources to rebuild the home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
The homeless woman is now living with her sister, seen here. Many Haitian adults and children who lost their homes in the hurricane are relying on family and neighbors for shelter, sharing crowded living quarters. Host families are struggling to meet the added burden.