Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: 5.5 million francs in funds but the needs remain massive

  • 25.10.2016
  • Hurricane Matthew

© Swiss Solidarity/Priska Spörri

On 4 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew ravaged the southwest of Haiti. According to aid workers, there is a real threat of famine. Many areas are still inaccessible. 1.4 million people urgently need help, including nearly 600,000 children. There is not enough food for the survivors. In addition, there is the risk that cholera will spread. Nine of our partner organizations are already providing emergency assistance on the ground.

Three weeks after the devastating hurricane, many areas in the southwest of Haiti are still inaccessible. Our partner organizations are bringing emergency relief to the remote places in the mountains by helicopter. Those in the disaster area are waiting for help or have begun to move to nearby cities and to the capital. They urgently need a roof over their head as well as clean drinking water and food. However, with infrastructure destroyed and resources scarce, help is very slow in coming.

Famine threatens
According to reports by aid workers meat last week by a Swiss Solidarity delegate on the ground, there is a real threat of famine. People are becoming more and more desperate. It is feared that the mood could tip over into violence. Sometimes, goods trucks on the main roads are stopped and searched for food. Food prices continue to rise as a result of food scarcity, and the price of fuel has already quintupled.

Swiss Solidarity houses stood firm
The region west of Port-au-Prince was particularly affected by the earthquake in 2010. The houses and schools that were then rebuilt with our support withstood Hurricane Matthew or were only slightly damaged. But the storm left its mark on farmland in this region as well.

Nine partner aid agencies on the ground

Nine of our Swiss partner agencies are currently operating in the affected areas in the southwest of Haiti. After the hurricane, they immediately began distributing food and water-treatment tablets as well as repairing water systems. Hygiene and household kits and material to build makeshift accommodations were also distributed.

What comes next
5.5 million francs in funds (as at 25 October 2016) allow us to provide immediate aid. The Haitian government is responsible for relocating victims and constructing collective accommodation. As resources are limited, we do not finance the reconstruction of public buildings. And since the needs are huge, we continue to call for donations for the victims:

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    Swiss Solidarity originated in 1946 from a radio show in western Switzerland – the first fundraising campaign was for the benefit of the orphans of World War II. The idea became more and more successful, and in 1983, Swiss Solidarity was granted the status of a foundation initiated by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG. Today, Swiss Solidarity is a foundation that raises funds for humanitarian relief projects and works with the SRG SSR.

    On national solidarity and fundraising days, Swiss Solidarity demonstrates just what is meant by «idée suisse»: The solidarity and support of Switzerland’s entire population. This is only possible because the SRG SSR idée suisse supports Swiss Solidarity with its free broadcastings. Swiss Solidarity itself is – with a few exceptions – not a relief organization, but rather a solidarity network, cooperating with 25 relief organizations.

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