UNICEF teams were among the first to arrive in affected areas after hurricane Matthew.
PORT-AU-PRINCE/HONG KONG, 4 January 2017 – Almost three months after hurricane Matthew, UNICEF and its partners continue to deliver humanitarian aid to those most affected by the category 4 storm.
Over 2 million people including 900,000 children were affected by the hurricane, of which 1.4 million require humanitarian assistance including 600,000 children. In addition to the personal losses of homes and crops, over 716 schools, and many health facilities and the existing sanitation infrastructure all suffered damage.
Together with the government of Haiti, UNICEF and its partners have been able to ensure safe water is available daily to over 281,000 individuals, including over 118,000 children. UNICEF contributed to the cholera vaccination campaign, in November that reached 807,395 people, ensuring the delivery also of information regarding the prevention of cholera. Over 309,213 children between the ages of 1-14 years are included in this figure. In the health sector, UNICEF has restored the cold-chain systems of 37 facilities, has equipped 35 malnutrition outpatient treatment centers in Grand’Anse and South and two inpatient facilities in each of these departments. In education, UNICEF has completed the restoration of 14 schools, with another 107 in various stages of progress. These restored schools have made it possible for 4,200 students to return to class. In total, it’s expected that over 36,000 students will return to the schools rehabilitated by UNICEF.
UNICEF works closely with communities on malnutrition that continues to affect children and adults as they struggle to recover from the extended drought and the subsequent effects of hurricane Matthew including persistent risk of disease and loss of livelihood. UNICEF protection interventions are supporting families that have lost their livelihoods, aimed at preventing child separation; it is common for parents to place their children in residential care facilities in the often-false expectation that they will receive access to education that parents can no longer afford. Economic stress is also known to lead to violence, and increased social tension which combine to increase the potential for child abuse and neglect.
To be closer to the population and improve delivery of services to the affected children and their families, UNICEF has opened two sub-offices: one in Les Cayes in the South department and the other in Jérémie in the Grand’Anse department.
“Three months after Matthew, we can already see improvements: safe water is increasingly available, the vast majority of schools have reopened as have a number of health facilities; and areas that are the most difficult to access are receiving assistance. UNICEF is continuing to fulfil its mandate and obligations to emergency and development efforts, “said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.
To provide these interventions, UNICEF needed funding. UNICEF’s appeal for Haiti grew from a pre-hurricane amount of HK$104.5 million (US$13.4 million) to HK$285.5 million (US$36.6 million) after hurricane Matthew, and was over 85% funded by year-end as a result of the generosity of donors and their constituents. These funds help UNICEF to cover the most urgent needs of the families and children of Haiti in terms of water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education and protection.
Much remains to be done in the coming year, to enable Haitian children and their families to benefit from safe water, sanitation and the dignity that comes with these, as well as access to protection, education and healthcare services. Once again, UNICEF relies on donors’ generosity so that it can continue its mission and remain true to its mandate, which is: a fair chance for every child.