One year ago, Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti, killing 500 people, injuring 400 and leaving 175,000 homeless. Water networks were damaged, houses with tin roofing swept by wind and rain, and fields destroyed. One year later, we take a look back at our response.
In view of the scale of the crisis, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, already on the ground, set up an emergency mission. The three main responses were water access, fight against cholera and food security.
Access to water at the heart of the crisis
Hurricane Matthew damaged and destroyed most of the water networks on its path. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL therefore decided to take action and to send an emergency team to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading, as a direct consequence of a lack of access to drinking water and sanitation facilities. In Haiti, where cholera affects thousands of people, a water, sanitation and hygiene response was essential to face the threat of the dirty hands disease.
Towards a sustainable response
Our teams installed chlorination points, distributed cholera kits (chlorine tablets, filters, jerry cans…) and set up flexible tanks allowing 15,000 people to have access to drinking water every day. The idea was to enable as many people as possible to have access to drinking water quickly. Then, to set up a sustainable response, our teams rehabilitated drinking water distribution facilities and sanitation facilities in schools. They refurbished 5 water networks, enabling more than 34,000 people to have access to drinking water. But the disinfection and the chlorination are not enough to stop cholera on the long term. That is why SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL organised awareness campaigns and created facility management committees to mobilise people.
If the job of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s teams was essential, alone, it would not have been enough. Every stakeholder, whether NGOs, United Nations agencies, the Haitian state, has their role to play. To respond to the emergency without forgetting anyone, strict coordination is necessary so actions are complementary. The discussions within the United Nations clusters are crucial to organise this coordination.
“In those environments, operational coordination between humanitarian stakeholders is essential to gain complementarity and efficiency to provide a better collective response to populations’ needs.” Alain Boinet, founder of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.
NGO coordination in Haiti reduced the cholera outbreak from 27,000 people affected in 2016 to 9,500 so far in 2017.
Our emergency responses in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew would not have been possible without our partners:
Agence de l’eau Seine Normandie
Communauté d’Agglomération du Puy-en-Velay
Métropole de Toulouse
Syndicat d’assainissement unifié du bassin cannois
Syndicat des Eaux de la Presqu’île de Gennevilliers
Syndicat intercommunal de l’eau potable du bassin cannois
Union européenne (ECHO)
381,145 people helped
– Distributed cholera treatment and emergency kits
– Performed emergency disinfection of infected households and strengthened drainage systems in the most vulnerable locations.
– Installed chlorination points
– Restored water points for showers and latrines
– Trained merchants, community officials and leaders in good hygiene practices and infrastructure maintenance
– Conducted awareness-raising sessions at markets, in schools, door-to-door, over the radio and at gatherings
ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER
28,660 people helped
– Provided water trucking in 5 districts affected by water shortages
– Upgraded springs
– Restored water networks and kiosks
– Trained 20 committee members
Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins