Haiti after Hurricane Matthew—one year later

In the past weeks, we’ve been seeing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma across the Caribbean. Many of you have responded with compassion, just as you did nearly one year ago when Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, blew through Haiti, taking approximately 1,000 lives and causing $2 billion in damage.

Your compassion restored lives

After Hurricane Matthew struck, our generous supporters throughout Canada responded, giving more than $300,000 to help those whose homes and livelihoods were smashed. Here’s what we did with those funds, along with funds donated from Compassion supporters from around the world.

  • 20,950 food and hygiene kits were distributed to families.
  • 12,000 children received medical checks and treatment through a mobile clinic.
  • 6,000 families received financial assistance to repair homes and replace personal belongings.
  • 400,470 water-purification tablets were distributed to prevent water-borne diseases, such as typhoid or cholera, common after natural disasters.
  • 10,000 children and their parents participated in post-trauma counselling or activities.
  • 3,650 children received mosquito nets.
  • 750 parents are receiving capital and training to restart their small businesses.
  • 56 church partners were provided grants to repair their school buildings.
  • 2 churches are receiving help to rebuild their facilities that were completely destroyed.

These boys received food and hygiene items immediately after Hurricane Matthew.

Edgar Alcime, senior pastor of a church in Moinson, Haiti, is in his sixties, but he had never experienced anything like Hurricane Matthew.

“I have never seen such a big and devastating hurricane during my whole life,” says Pastor Edgar Alcime. “It is just heartbreaking when looking at the consequences. The community turned out to be just like a desert.”

Most people in Moinson are subsistence farmers, relying on the food they grow on their small plots of land and animals they raise. But the crops were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

“I have never seen such a big and devastating hurricane during my whole life,” says Pastor Edgar.

“Without the ministry of Compassion, the situation would have been just chaotic for many families,” Pastor Edgar says. “I contacted many organizations, but Compassion was the only one that stood by the church to help the needy people.”

Stronger than before

One of those who benefitted from Compassion’s assistance is Laudamene Claude. Laudamene is almost 60, but she is the primary breadwinner for three of her grown children and three grandchildren who live with her. She sometimes sells secondhand shoes as a street vendor and tends her small farm to provide for her family. Her three grandchildren, Vanessa, Jean Vens and Cheika, are enrolled in Compassion’s program.

Laudamene and her 3-year-old granddaughter, Cheika. Their family received aid to rebuild their home after Hurricane Matthew.

Laudamene had spent five years building a house to live in with her family members. But it took only a few hours for Hurricane Matthew to tear down much of what she had built.

Her family stayed inside the home for most of the hurricane. Sixteen-year-old granddaughter Vanessa says, “The night of the hurricane I was frightened and hopeless. I thought we all would die in that hurricane. I cried over and over until the next morning. Today, I am happy because I am back home.

“I felt so broken when I saw the house damaged,” says Laudamene. “I prayed to God for help and he answered our cries. Compassion came and brought us food, medicine, materials and money to repair our homes. The hurricane struck us in a time where we had no money available at home, but Compassion was there.”

With the assistance, Laudamene has been able to repair her home even better than it was before.

Laudemene, Vanessa and Jean Vens feel confident about the future thanks to the help they’ve received through Compassion.

“I feel happy and proud to return home together with my family members,” she says. “I feel safer under this roof as it is stronger than before. I am so grateful for what Compassion has done for me. I cannot find enough words to express my gratefulness.”

Now the town of Moinson is beginning to turn green again. The crops are growing, and life is getting back to normal. Many families are rebuilding their lives, thanks to so many of you!

On the northern coast of Haiti, where families lost homes and possessions to Hurricane Irma this month, our church partners will continue to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of the children we serve.

By Jeannot Chataigne

Written by: Compassion Canada