October 15, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Massachusetts Haitian American grassroots coalitions organize to respond to Hurricane Matthew
Contact: Nesly Metayer (HAU), 617-283-2080
The Haitian Americans United Inc. (HAU) in collaboration with the Haiti Development Institute (HDI), and several community partners are coordinating a concerted response to the level 4 Hurricane that battered Haiti between October 3rd and 4th. Their goal is to respond to the emergent needs of affected communities in the short and long-term, while making sure the voices of the Haitian-American diaspora are included in the reconstruction effort. Hurricane Matthew dealt a severe blow to Haiti’s already weakened and fragile infrastructure, leaving a disastrous trail of flooded cities and towns and displaced residents who are facing major public health challenges, particularly in the Southern part of the country.
Close to two weeks after the powerful storm first made landfall in southwestern Haiti, some communities still have not received any assistance, as authorities reported at least 900 deaths. The impact of the hurricane has to be seen against the background of underlying and chronic risks and vulnerabilities throughout the country. Therefore, this appeal focuses on the immediate humanitarian needs arising from hurricane Mathew.
As a result, the public at large is invited to join a special marathon/telethon on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Kay Pam, 6 Livingston Street, Dorchester, MA from 11am to 6pm. This event which will feature performers, live music and updates from members of the towns affected, will be aired live by several media programs.
SCOPE, MAGNITUDE AND AFTERMATH OF THE HURRICANE:
The following updates might be helpful to further explain why your urgent contribution is crucial. Hurricane Matthew has resulted in:
• The largest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. This is at a time when the country is already facing an increase in the number of cholera cases, and severe food insecurity and malnutrition
• about 1.200,000 people being affected, including more than 800,000 in need of immediate aid such as shelter, housing, and medical attention
• Complete destruction of a majority of makeshift homes and significant damage to well-built framed homes that lost their roofs, or that were damaged by falling or uprooted trees.
• agricultural and fishery assets having suffered massive damage with the World Food Program estimating up to an 80% of harvest lost.
• A risk of a renewed spike in the number of cholera cases and other waterborne diseases as a result of the impact on the water infrastructure and the severe flooding, potentially affecting thousands of families and children already at risk across the country.
• Communication networks being entirely disrupted across the western tip of Haiti.
Particularly vulnerable and hardest hit areas include:
• The Departments of Grand’Anse, South and Western tip areas of Nippes, including Les Cayes; the town of Jérémie (population of 42,000) was very severely damaged.
• Inaccessible rural areas.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Response Considerations: Haitian-Americans United Inc. (HAU), Haiti Development Institute (HDI), and several Community Partners have been coordinating fundraising efforts in Boston to support victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Funds are being collected locally in Boston through Haitian Americans United Inc. and disbursed to affected municipalities in Haiti that can demonstrate there is a coordinated and accountable body available to receive and manage the short-term financial contributions. This body includes the Mayor, representatives from a school, a religious organization and the civil sector. Note that while HAU and its partner organizations are focusing on assisting primarily with emergency assistance funds, it encourages the public to give consideration to organizations that may have the structure and capacity to coordinate drives to collect much needed items.
Donations by checks can be made to: Haitian-Americans United Inc. – with memo “Hurricane Matthew 2016 Relief Efforts” or mailed to:
HAU, P.O. Box 260440
Mattapan, MA 02126
Or by direct deposit at East Boston Savings Bank: Routing# 211070120, Account # 777415001
For more information, please visit: