The extensive devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew as it crossed over the southern peninsula of Haiti last week has turned out to be much worse than originally feared. Over 900 people have been confirmed dead. Roads are washed away, farmlands destroyed just as they were ready for harvesting, and water sources are at high risk of contamination. The number of cholera cases is rising dramatically. Food is in short supply. Hospitals and clinics are receiving large numbers of injured and are low on supplies. 300,000 people have been displaced. And in some towns, 80% or more of the homes are destroyed. Because of damage to a major bridge on the highway, movement between the southern peninsula and the rest of the island is limited with aid arriving by helicopter and by ships.
Thankful that our clinics and staff in the north were spared, HUFH’s response to the devastation caused to Haiti’s southern peninsula by Hurricane Matthew is two-pronged and simple: shore up our own programs in anticipation of increased need in the north where we work, and provide direct help to organizations in the affected areas in the south.
Providing Direct Help to the South: Using funds raised through our emergency hurricane appeal, Hands Up for Haiti is providing direct financial aid to No Time for Poverty (NTP). NTP’s mission is very similar to that of HUFH: “to provide children living in poverty with accessible, affordable, high quality medical care.” To that end, NTP runs the Klinik Timoun Nou Yo (Kreyol for “Our Children’s Clinic”) in Port-Salut on the southern coast; the clinic is the only pediatric center in a large area serving 60,000 people.
The ED and founder of NTP, Michele Boston, just returned from Haiti, describes a devastating situation in the area served by the clinic. They are treating a lot of children with infected wounds, pneumonia and diarrhea. 85% of the homes in the area were destroyed, the water supply is becoming contaminated, there is little food available, medications are in short supply: everything we would expect after a disaster like this. NTP’s staff survived, although many lost their homes; NTP has been providing them with water purification tablets, shelter and food. Notwithstanding their personal losses, the staff came in immediately after the hurricane and made necessary repairs sufficient to re-open the clinic last Monday, and they have been open daily with a steadily rising number of patients. They are currently repairing their water filtration system, making certain to include a spout for community use. Based on what they have seen since the clinic re-opened, and the condition of the water and food supply, they expect to see a sharp increase in malnutrition and cholera, as well as infections caused by untreated injuries.
The clinic is in great need of oral rehydration packets and antibiotics to fight cholera and infection and nutritional supplements for babies and children. NTP has an established network to purchase the needed medications and supplies, but they need the funds to do so.
With your generous support, HUFH is providing funds NTP to purchase the supplies they urgently need to combat the effects of Matthew.
Strengthening our Programs and our Partners in the North: We expect cholera to strike even in the north and a sharp increase in malnutrition cases due to the extensive loss of crops. Using funds raised through our emergency hurricane appeal and medical supplies obtained through a generous grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Hands Up for Haiti is delivering direct care, educating the community on cholera prevention and safe water use, building and repairing water wells, and expanding our malnutrition program to new sites and with greater outreach. We are providing supplies to our partner hospitals, Hopital Convention de Baptiste, supported by Hope Health Action and Justinian University Hospital as they too gear up to treat and prevent cholera
HUFH believes that access to clean water will help reduce many major health concerns; to ensure this access, we have already built 6 wells that hydrate over 40,000 people. We are sending a visiting team next week who, in addition to holding outreach clinics, will also teach community members about clean water, protecting the water wells that we have already built, and Cholera prevention. Additionally we will be teaching storm water management and implementing an effective storm management system to ensure water cleanliness. The educational sessions are designed to teach the whole family from children to elders.
Please help us prevent waterborne diseases, mitigate food shortages, and sustain our efforts to make certain that all Haitians receive the health care that they need. To help, please click here.
More about No Time for Poverty and the Klinik Timoun Nou Yo from their website: From their website: Klinik Timoun Nou Yo, provides the very finest in urgent and primary care, dental treatment, well baby evaluation and vaccination, breastfeeding consultation and education. We also provide food supplementation and dietary consultation for severely and moderately malnourished children ages one day to five years (use Medika Mamba). The only pediatric facility in the southern region of Haiti, KTNY treats and serves an average of 70 children per day. No fee is charged for vaccinations, food supplementation, donated medications, and vitamins. No child is ever turned away for a family’s inability to pay.”
FEATURE PHOTO (TOP) BY Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters.