In the past few days Hurricane Matthew went past Haiti, Jamaica & the Dominican Republic to push a historic and destructive storm surge to the coasts of northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) preliminary evaluations are ongoing, however, access to other areas remain difficult.
Other NGOs (MDM Argentina, Red Cross Haiti, Action Against Hunger and ADEMA) are evaluating the situation in Nord Ouest, Sud Est, and Centre departments.
The damage in Haiti so far (news update)
- The death toll has now reached 1,000 according to Reuters
- 350,000 people are in need of immediate assistance
- 60,000 people in temporary shelters
- Severe flooding in 11 communes (townships) with significant mudslides and flash floods as well as landslides and damage to roads and infrastructure. The storm has had its biggest impact in rural areas, namely the departments of South, Grande-Anse, particularly in the communes of Jérémie and Les Cayes (south), with 75% of homes having lost their roofs.
Also, the regions of Nippes, South East and West were severely affected:
- House damage: over 29,000 houses are destroyed or severely damaged.
- Public infrastructure: majority of port infrastructures in the Sud Department are damaged, collapse of Petit Goave Bridge has isolated communities in South, Nippes and Grand’Anse.
- Livelihoods: The World Food Programme estimates that up to 80% of harvest is lost in some areas.
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The impact in Jamaica
- Low level of damage (only affected by rainfall not high winds). The government of Jamaica has made no request for international aid.
- Evacuation shelters have been closed. Schools are reopened.
- This week and next the Jamaican government and USAID will be carrying out damage assessments on which they will base an official recovery plan.
And in Cuba
Severe damages were reported in the far East of the country. Sectors severely affected include:
- Water and sanitation
- Basic social services
- Social and road infrastructure
- Telecommunications, and so on.
Assessing the extent of the damage where we work
The situation in areas where we’ve been running reconstruction projects since the 2010 earthquake is looking much better overall. However standing water due to blocked drainage is posing a serious health risk, mainly the spread of cholera.
- Light damage with a few houses having lost corrugated iron sheeting from their roofs. A total of 19 houses were flooded.
- Stagnant water is also blocking entrance to the Bon Berger School
- The water table is saturated and standing water is again posing a risk of cholera spreading in the community
- Immediate work will include efforts to clear debris and open up drainage ways to rid the community of standing water. We will also work with families who lost the corrugated galavanised iron (CGI) from their roofs
- We are working with the community’s new task force which is leading their recovery efforts.
Three cases of cholera have been reported in Canaan and health risks are expected to increase in the next few days due to stagnant water. Our team in Haiti carried out a joint assessment with American Red Cross, Terre des Hommes, Global Communities, UN Habitat and Mercy Corps.
Overall the damage from hurricane Matthew was very limited in this area where we’ve been rebuilding in the past few years, with only 150 homes out of thousands that were severely damaged. Most of those who were evacuated during the storm are already back in their homes.
A detailed assessment team comprised of staff from the Red Cross and Habitat will soon be visiting the destroyed and severely impacted homes to determine the amount of work needed. Response work will be quick to aid those severely impacted and shortly after that it will be refocused on reconstruction and development.
Our partners and teams on the ground
As teams are dedicated to assessing needs, a response strategy in communities where we have been operating will most likely focus on
- Water, sanitation and hygiene
- Refuse management strategy
- Upgrading the existing housing stock with a strong focus on disaster risk reduction
Overall we are still waiting for more information from the impacted areas in order to develop a larger, long term strategy. To do this, we are working on identifying potential partners (local and international) and will support any efforts to coordinate disaster response.
In Jamaica, we will work with our partner families to assist as needed. In combination with our disaster response programme, we will support Heath centres for the dissemination of ad-hoc Hygiene Promotion Awareness campaign.
In the Dominican Republic, we are attending emergency government coordination meetings. The team deployed in the South is gathering information from affected communities in coordination with Oxfam. A hurricane shelter we’ve built in the past is currently hosting 54 people (including 2 persons with disabilities) which could help support calls for more shelters.
Please give today, so that we can rebuild as many homes as possible across the world.
Photo: Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH