5 October 2016 - Christian Aid has launched an appeal to help people in Haiti recover from Hurricane Matthew.
Thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed after the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade ripped through Haiti yesterday with winds of up to 145mph.
The worst-hit area is the southwest of the country, where scenes of flooding and devastation were described as “truly catastrophic”.
Prospery Raymond, Christian Aid’s country manager in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, said: “People have lost their homes and livelihoods. Livestock were swept away and plantations have been flattened. They will need a lot of support to recover, including cash to rebuild their homes.
“We do not yet know how bad the damage is because there is no communication with the southwest of the island. Some of our colleagues have been unable to get any information about their families there.
“We do know that houses have been destroyed and people have lost most of their belongings. A lot of farms have been flattened – corn and banana crops have been wiped away.
“People will need essential items, such as hygiene kits and blankets, cash and materials to rebuild their homes, as well as seeds and livestock.”
Christian Aid and its local partners ensured that shelters had been stocked with food over the weekend before the storms hit.
The category 4 storm made landfall near Les Anglais on the western tip of Haiti at 7am EDT (11am GMT) on Tuesday.
High winds and severe flooding have knocked out mobile communications, and there has been no electricity in the southwest of the island since Tuesday afternoon.
The main bridge linking capital Port-au-Prince with the southern peninsula was destroyed in the hurricane, creating a communications black-out and hampering aid delivery.
Nick Guttmann, head of humanitarian at Christian Aid, said: “In the run-up to the hurricane our country team and local partners were helping to evacuate people to safe shelters. Our partners are with communities before disaster strikes and can be first to respond.
“We are carrying out a rapid needs assessment with our partners. It is vital to work with local partners in emergencies as local people are often the first to respond in a crisis.
They have the best understanding of what their communities need so we should equip them with the resources they require.”
Christian Aid has been working in Haiti for almost 20 years.
For more information please Lilly Peel on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07850 242950.
Prospery Raymond, Christian Aid country manager in Haiti, or Victoria Jean-Louis, senior programme manager, are available as spokespeople.
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
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5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk