Port-au-Prince, Haiti (January 4, 2016) When Hurricane Matthew slammed into the Southern peninsula of Haiti, it destroyed the majority of crops and livestock. Three months later, there are 800,000 people in urgent need of food assistance leaving the country at risk of a food crisis, warns CARE.
“The hurricane hit just before the November planting season, so many famers missed this critical time to replant because they lost everything—their crops, seeds and their land was destroyed,” said Jean-Michel Vigreux, CARE Country Director in Haiti. “The southern peninsula is the breadbasket of Haiti. With nearly all of their crops destroyed, it’s critical that we support people to restart their livelihoods – especially agriculture - to prevent a major food crisis in the near future.”
In the immediate wake of the hurricane, CARE distributed nearly 90,000 hot meals to those impacted. Now as we turn towards helping people rebuild, CARE has provided some seeds for farmers to replant their crops and will begin 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 and farmers.
“Haiti was already suffering from a drought before the hurricane hit,” said Vigreux. “Now, the Grand’Anse department - where the brunt of the storm hit - is an area of high concern. We are working directly with communities to make sure we’re reaching the most vulnerable with cash so that they can buy the food and materials they need right now, as well as supporting them to rebuild their livelihoods over the long run.”
People are salvaging whatever assets they can to begin rebuilding their lives. Along with food assistance, CARE is helping people rebuild by providing corrugated iron sheets for repairing damaged homes. With over 1,500 schools damaged by the hurricane, there are still 150,000 children out of school. CARE is repairing damaged school so children can resume their education as soon as possible, as well as running child-friendly spaces to help children return to a sense of normalcy.
“Damage from a hurricane of this magnitude will take years to recover from, but Haitians are extremely resilient and eager to rebuild their lives, and CARE is committed to partnering with the Haitian people to help them do it,” said Vigreux.
About CARE in Haiti: CARE has been working in Haiti since 1954, following the devastating Hurricane Hazel that killed over around 1,000 people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, CARE reached more than 290,000 people with food, clean water, temporary shelter and other vital services. Along with responding to emergencies, CARE implements long-term development programs such as education, food and livelihoods and women’s economic empowerment that build the resilience of the most vulnerable families. Leran more about CARE's work in Haiti here.
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 www.care.org.«All Press Releases