21 Oct 16 28 Nov 16

Haiti: Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

In the hardest hit areas of Haiti, Grande Anse and Sud, many isolated villages remain cut off from the rest of the country. 

MSF teams who have had access to these areas see many injured people who, over two weeks after the hurricane hit, still present with open infected wounds, fractures and diseases linked to the consequences of the storm.

Aftermath evaluation 

Access to health care, already difficult, is almost non-existent for the wounded in those villages. MSF has provided 1,614 medical consultations in the three regions.

Access to medical care is a priority in affected regions and isolated villages are being prioritized.

According to an evaluation by national authorities, 175,000 people have been displaced, over two million people are affected and 1.4 million people are in need of aid.

546 people are reported dead, but the real number is likely to be much higher. 

Urgent needs

Food, water and shelter are the most urgent needs in remote villages. MSF teams are still seeing people who have had almost nothing to eat since the hurricane struck.

Many water sources such as water reservoirs or wells have been damaged or destroyed. MSF is currently focused on providing clean water to communities by installing water reservoirs, distributing chlorine tabs, water, and cleaning water sources.

Risks of cholera outbreaks

MSF's head of mission in Haiti, Paul Brockman,  said,"many of us fear that we’re going to get into a second phase, which is malnutrition, risks of cholera or other waterborne diseases becoming more serious.  

You’ve got stagnant water in a lot of places, so the risks are really quite serious for a lot of people in many towns scattered along a lot of coastline.

Innovative ways for reaching inaccessible areas

Isolated villages in the mountains must be prioritized. As they are difficult to reach they have the least access to health care, clean water, food or reconstruction material.

Some are reachable by car, but MSF uses various transport means to reach the villages, including specially hired helicopters and has even started to use donkeys.

Liselle Beloni, who arrived to an MSF clinic with her mother and son said, “My mother and son were both in our home when the hurricane struck, while I was in another village.

"The wind blew a piece of metal sheeting of the house and it fell down on them.

"They could barely move and the room filled with water.

"When the storm had ended, I rushed back home and found our home damaged and both of them injured."

Dwindling stocks and damaged crops

In addition to damage to health centres, stocks are dwindling because access by road is blocked. 

In many villages MSF teams have been the only aid teams to access the population and the needs are huge.

In addition to the destruction of stocks, the damage on crops and difficulty to transport goods mean that prices have risen significantly. 800,000 people are at extreme levels of food insecurity. 

MSF has been present in Haiti for over 19 years providing free healthcare for the thousands of people who cannot afford the limited healthcare is available. We currently runs 6 projects in Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.

Find out more about MSF's work in Haiti