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Hurricane Matthew: “Complete destruction” in parts of Southern Haiti, CARE scaling up response

PORT AU PRINCE—(Oct. 6, 2016) Hurricane Matthew battered Haiti, killing over 100 people, destroying some parts of the southern peninsula and leaving thousands of Haitians in need of emergency assistance.

“The southern part of Haiti has been particularly heavy hit by Hurricane Matthew and is now cut off from the rest of the country,” said Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE Country Director in Haiti.

The Haitian government said the storm claimed the lives of 108 people.

Vigreux described the scene in Jeremie, the capital of Grand Anse, as “complete destruction.”

“About 80 percent of the buildings are destroyed. Phones and electricity are down. The bank is offline. Access is completely cut off and people are running out of food and money,” he said.

“Everyone is very shaken up. There’s already been three cases of cholera in the hospital but there is no electricity. There were five planned shelters and now there are 25 makeshift shelters that have popped up in the past 48 hours.”

Jacmel, on the southern coast and Haiti’s fourth largest city, is also badly affected. The number of people in those shelters have almost doubled in a day, from 2,700 to 4,000.

The estimate at this point is that about 15,000 people are currently based in various shelters.

Vigreux compared the storm impact to that of Hurricane Hazel.

CARE started distributing food and clean water to over 3,700 people in evacuation shelters in Port-au-Prince, the southeast and in Grande Anse Departments, where the brunt of the storm hit. And in the coming days CARE will be scaling up its response aiming to provide tarps and hygiene kits to some 50,000 people.

The storm hit the already vulnerable country where Haitians are still feeling the long-term effects of the 2010 earthquake, subsequent cholera outbreak, two cyclones, one tropical storm and two droughts.

“The population is very strained,” Vigreux said. “Strengthening people’s resilience will be key to any recovery plan.”

After leaving Haiti, Hurricane Matthew then hit eastern Cuba bringing strong winds, rain, landslides and coastal flooding. While the full extent of the impact remains unclear, early reports include damages to schools, buildings and houses, particularly in Guantanamo and Holguin provinces.

“Thanks to the Cuban government’s early efforts to evacuate residents, it’s expected there will be few casualties from this massive storm,” says Richard Paterson, CARE country representative in Cuba. “However, we are concerned about the long-term impact Matthew will have, especially in poor, rural areas for families whose homes, harvests and livelihoods may have been destroyed.”

CARE has been working in Haiti since 1954, following the devastating Hurricane Hazel that left over 1,000 dead. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, CARE reached over 290,000 people with food, clean water, temporary shelter and other vital services. Along with responding to emergencies, CARE implements long-development programs such as education, food and livelihoods and women’s empowerment programs that build the resilience of vulnerable families.

Media Contact: Nicole Harris, nharris@care.org, 404-735-0871

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more visit care.org.


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