Hurricane Matthew Update #1: On-the-Ground Report From Haiti Communitere
From Jesse Baker, Haiti Communitere Country Director
As you know, Hurricane Matthew is on its way to Haiti. All indicators show that it will leave a devastating trail in its wake. Especially in the community that Haiti Communitere has been most active … Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil is one of the most vulnerable communities to this kind of disaster in all of the Caribbean; it has a population of over 265,000, it sits directly at sea level – and not in a good way – houses are mostly made of scavenged materials, and the people are unimaginably poor. Storm surges from the ocean are expected to exceed 5 feet, and we could see up to 36 inches of rain in the coming days. Nor have people in Cite Soleil been mobilized to evacuate. If ever there was a “recipe for disaster,” this is it.
Nevertheless, Haiti Communitere has been preparing over the last three days, we convened a meeting on Saturday with community leaders from Cite Soleil who we have been working with over the past six years. Community liaisons have been established throughout Cite Soleil who will communicate to us what is happening on the ground in real time, we have identified and procured the most essential supplies (food, water, and candles/matches), and we have organized our base to accommodate as many people as possible as the storm materializes, makes landfall, and then moves on.
As difficult as the next few days will be, once the storm leaves, is when the real work begins. True to our “Response, Relief, Renewal” mantra, Haiti Communitere will once again become the resource center on the ground most effective at coordinating grassroots projects in areas of the most need. Keep following our updates to see progress as the storm makes its way through this incredible island. Once it is appropriate, we will keep you posted on how you can help us in our response to the aftermath.
Please keep the people of Haiti (and all affected areas of the Caribbean) in your thoughts … thank you.
PS: we normally would not post photos like this, but these are originals taken on a collaborative project a couple months ago, and we feel they convey the level of vulnerability people in Cite Soleil are facing.