PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, November 4, 2016. It’s been one month since Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti, devastating the southern part of the country. CARE and other aid agencies are delivering lifesaving aid, but urgent humanitarian needs are increasing faster than the funding needed to respond.
There are a staggering 1.4 million people in need of assistance, with an estimated 80 percent of them children and women of reproductive age. The most urgent needs are in the southwest, specifically the Grand’Anse Department, where over 75 percent of the population was affected by the hurricane.
Food is the biggest need, as people’s crops and livestock were completely destroyed. Food is running low in the markets causing economic activity to plummet over the past month. There are now 800,000 people in urgent need of food, with nearly half of those in the Grand’Anse Department.
Since the hurricane, CARE has distributed nearly 85,000 hot meals to those impacted, and will soon begin providing seeds for farming and cash transfers for people to purchase food in the local market. This will allow people to choose what food items their families need while also stimulating the local economy.
“Some affected people in the rural areas of Grand’Anse have not even been reached yet, so we are focusing first on getting cash to those populations and seeds for farmers to replant their crops,” said Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE Country Director in Haiti. “More assistance is needed though before Haiti has a major food crisis on their hands. The needs are truly startling, and only going to increase until more funding is there to provide the aid needed for people to survive and start getting back on their feet.”
The UN launched a $119.8 million appeal to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs, and the international community has been slow to respond. To date only 32 percent of the UN appeal has been funded. CARE has only secured 16 percent of its fundraising target.
“The lack of funding for a disaster of this caliber is concerning. Lives are on the line here,” said Vigreux.
Along with food, shelter is another urgent need as there are over 140,000 people displaced in temporary shelters. The temporary shelters are planned to be closed soon which could leave thousands homeless. Since the hurricane, CARE has distributed over 6,000 heavy duty tarps for emergency shelter, and is planning to reach 40,000 people with tarps and corrugated iron sheets for repairing their homes.
“So many people have literally lost everything, but they are eager to rebuild their lives. They just need the resources to get them started,” said Vigreux.
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