On Tuesday, October 4th, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the southern part of Haiti, devastating the region. As the seas calmed down and the storm moved north, Water Mission Haiti immediately began coordinating with the Haitian government and UNICEF Haiti and assessing the damage in the hardest hit areas.
“It’s worse than you can imagine,” reported David Inman, Director of Central American and Caribbean Programs. Already suffering from wide-spread deforestation, Haiti was in no way prepared to take on a massive hurricane. The storm wreaked havoc on the countryside as houses were washed away in torrents of water and unstoppable mudslides. With roads washed out and major bridges impassable, our staff is working to secure alternative transportation including helicopter transport, boats, and even motorcycles in some cases, in order to assess the situation in many communities and deliver safe water treatment systems in the hardest hit places.
“Hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced in the Southwestern department of Haiti by Hurricane Matthew are waiting on relief. They have been cut off from the rest of the country due to the loss of bridges, cellular service, and power.
“The situation is truly dire, and we are moving with urgency, knowing that many are in desperate need of safe water. Today we are in the process of implementing safe water treatment systems and we are praying that those waiting on relief won’t have to wait much longer.”
– Nick Mason, project engineer
Water Mission Haiti staff are deploying 10 safe water treatment systems to the hardest hit areas. Simultaneously, we are shipping an additional 20 systems and 900 household filtration units into the country as we anticipate a greater need in the coming weeks and months.
With an established Haiti office in Port-au-Prince, our team has worked for 13 years throughout the country, building community-owned water treatment systems, sanitation solutions, and responding to the destruction from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. With several systems caught in the eye of Hurricane Matthew, our team has confirmed that eight water treatment systems are still fully functional and working to provide safe water for up to 40,000 people in the storm-torn region.
With over 1,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced, the situation is urgent. As the scale and intensity of the damage is still widely unknown, please join us in prayer for our team as they respond. Our 40 staff members in Haiti are working around the clock to provide one of the most basic, human needs to the victims of Hurricane Matthew. Our mission and prayer is to be a source of comfort and relief to those whose lives have been turned upside down.