Category Archives: Haiti

Access to drinking water

In Haïti I worked on assessing the damage the hurricane made to the water gravity fed systems. By rehabilitating these systems the people in the villages will have clean water again!

 

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Training and sensibilisation

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This is a common phrase used in the development sector. Also in emergiency situations it is important to include training, instead of only handing out things. With Medair we focused on shelter and WASH trainings to make sure our distribution kits can be used effectively. Each family was showed how to build their house hurricane proof, for example by anchoring your tarp with a rope burried in the ground. In the hygiene promotion we emphasized on the importance of drinking clean water, washing your hands and going to the toilet (instead of pooing on the beach!). All very important to prevent further cholera outbreak and to live a healthy life!

Emergency response distributions

Medair responded in the emergency by targeting the commune of Tiburon and focus on their shelter and WASH needs (water, sanitation and hygiene). Tiburon is a remote commune along the South coast of Haiti where more than 90% of the houses are destroyed. The area is difficult to reach; it takes half a day to reach the place from the major nearby town, Les Cayes. You need to pass a river and the dirt roads are washed away at some places. For this reason the area is kind of forgotten, so it is good that at least one humanitarian organisation is active there.

In the last weeks we were able to distribute more than 2000 kits to all the households in Tapion, Carrefour, Timpe, Bon Pas and La Cahouane. The kits provide the families with some hygiene essentials (such as soap and sanitary towels), a technology to treat their water (Sawyer filters or aquatabs) and shelter tools (tarp, rope, nails). For the households it is of enormous help to receive some basic survival tools, since they lost everything. Now they have a safe source of drinking water and are able to rebuild their houses.

Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti

On the 4th of October 2016, hurricane Matthew raged over Haiti. It caused widespread destruction and catastrophic loss. The impoverished nation was just recovering from the earthquake in 2010 and an ongoing cholera outbreak after tragedy stroke again.

Three weeks after the hurricane I see the enormous damage with my own eyes. The first things you notice are the snapped and fallen trees. If you come closer you see the damage at the houses; crumbled walls, blown away roofs and rubble everywhere. When you walk around you find out that of some houses you only see the traces; they are completely blown away. By talking to the people you see the pain, the sadness, the frustration and the anger in their eyes. You are the first person to whom they can express their feelings because everyone else in the village needs to deal with the same circumstances.

The poorest people, who lived in houses of coconut leaves and depend on the harvest for food, are the most vulnerable. Their homes are vanished, their harvest is destroyed and their family members and friends are lost. Families who literary lost everything are sheltering in schools and churches. Others are trying to rebuild their houses with the wood they can find and pieces of tarp and rope, protecting them against sun and rain. The people are resilient; they accept their lot, look after each other and start building on their future. Which must be so hard, but they just have to and they simply do it.

I can only imagine how the villages looked like before. It must have been beautiful.