20 October 2016
Since Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on 4 October, ActionAid's local staff have distributed emergency supplies to over 16,000 people. While distributing these supplies, our teams have met many children who, thankfully, survived the full force of the hurricane, but whose futures still remain uncertain. Hungry and living in temporary shelters, with little hope of returning to school quickly, these children need support in the weeks following the immediate aftermath of the disaster. We cannot forget the children still at risk in Haiti.
Nine-year-old Julien is an orphan. Her parents died before the Hurricane Matthew, and she lives with other relatives.
Forced to sleep in a half-built house
Since the hurricane struck, Julien has been sleeping along with many other families in a half-constructed house that the owner has let the community use as a shelter, because their home has been badly damaged. Many adults have been sleeping on the concrete floor, but have tried to make it more comfortable for their children by resting a salvaged mattress on top of four chairs.
Julien said: “My house was not totally destroyed but the roof caved in so it is very dangerous and we can’t stay there." She doesn't know how how long she will have to stay there before she can return home."
"I was sitting in the house when it fell. I was scared"
Christianna, five, is from Beaumont commune in Grand Anse, one of the areas that was worst hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Christianna told us: “I was sitting in the house when it fell. I was scared. I kept my eyes closed all the way through.”
Now, Christiana is sheltering in the local school with her family and 160 others. The building, which is made from concrete, is one of the only buildings to have survived relatively intact in the area.
A grandfather struggles to care for his grandson
Ilafab Felix has been looking after his nine-year-old grandson Eric (name changed) since one of his daughters died last year. Hurricane Matthew destroyed their house, which is now just a pile of splintered corrugated metal and timbers, and all of Ilafab's crops. Ilafab, 69, is concerned about what will happen to Eric now.
Ilafab says, "This was my house, it was totally crushed by a falling tree. I don't have anything left. Not one single thing. Just the clothes I am wearing.
"I am worried about Eric because I don’t have good health. I don’t have food, I don’t have money. I am old and I feel so weak. I don’t know what I am going to do now. And I don’t know how he will manage if I am not here to care for him. We have so many problems.
"I need a new house for me and my grandson. But how can I afford one? I have no crops to sell and nothing to eat. I am very hungry. We are both so hungry."
What ActionAid is doing to help
ActionAid Haiti is working with local partners to provide food, clean water and cholera kits to communities in the worst-hit areas. We will soon be supporting villages with urgently needed cash, seeds, women safe spaces to support women’s specific needs and protect them from violence, and livelihood support to help them earn money and get back on their feet.
There are many children like Julien, Christianna, and Eric who still need urgent support in Haiti. You can help right now by donating to our Hurricane Matthew appeal.