Behind every disaster are the people, families, and communities who have been affected. Our emergency response team in Haiti are meeting some of these amazing people as they work, and we want to share a few of their stories with you.
Jesus-la, 21, Les Cayes
Hurricane Matthew has taken Jesus-la’s home, her animals, and her crops.
These are devastating blows for this 21 year old mother.
Jesus-la lives in Torbeck, a small community in the Les Cayes area of southern Haiti with her four year old son and his father.
Their home and their livelihood were destroyed when Hurricane Matthew’s vicious winds and rains swept across the island. They rent approximately three acres where they grow corn, bananas, and sweet potatoes. Their entire income came from selling these crops in the market. They have no savings to start over.
Jesus-la heard that a shelter had been opened at the local school. She had no other place to live so she and her family are staying at the shelter until the local community leaders decide where she can go.
She and up to a few hundred others who have also lost their homes do not have any certainty in their lives. They are sleeping on tables, mattresses on the floor, and the floor itself.
The school’s water system had been broken even before Hurricane Matthew hit. Yet another result of the poverty that defines most of Haiti. Now they must buy water when they can. She used to purchase a large bag of smaller drinking sachets, but now she can only afford to purchase three at a time.
There are no latrines at the school. All who have taken shelter there are using open fields as their toilet.
Before the storm, she and her family ate two meals a day. On the day before our visit, she had only eaten one meal. It was a bit of spaghetti that some friends had bought for her.
She is now experiencing hunger pains.
‘We are going through a difficult time. We would appreciate any help we can get.’
Fontus, 29, Roche a Bateau
Fontus struggles to share his story of the night the hurricane struck. He has no words to describe the tragedy. He says he was more than scared, and didn’t sleep that night. He felt the power of the wind against the windows. He couldn’t think past the next few hours. When the wind started he tried to secure the roof on the house he shares with his mother, sister, nephew and cousin, but in the end he had to leave it. The roof was destroyed. He and his family are worried about food.
“Because everything is destroyed, hunger will come no matter what.”
Marte, 48, Roche a Bateau
Marte is a second grade teacher in Roche a Bateau, where she has always lived. She said this is the first time they have seen such a storm. She describes the hurricane as “like a day of death”. They were waiting for death to come – she saw death coming. Marte, her husband, and two children survived. But now she is worried about food, especially after the destruction of the crops. She said that everyone has lost everything, and she doesn’t know if the community will ever recover.
“Maybe in 50 years,” she said. “Right now we have no hope.”
How is ADRA helping?
In partnership with GlobalMedic, ADRA is putting a strong focus on providing access to water that is safe for drinking and preventing the spread of cholera and other diseases.
- 7 point-of-source water purification units, capable of purifying a combined 140 liters of water per minute
- 288,000 Aquatab water purification tablets, which can provide purification for 2.88 million liters of water
- 1,000 family emergency kits, which include a water purification unit that can provide clean water for a year, as well as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, laundry detergent, and other hygiene supplies
ADRA is also providing food kits to families, and will continue to adapt and expand our response to keep up with the growing needs of those who survived the storm.