Haiti: Hurricane Matthew - Emergency Appeal Operations n° MDRHT013, 12-month update

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Hurricane Matthew was the largest humanitarian emergency in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. A category 5 tropical hurricane had not formed in the area for nine years, prompting the Haitian government to rapidly activate the National Emergency Plan, the National Emergency Operation Centre and regional emergency operation centres. Moreover, while the Haitian government did not declare a state of emergency, a red alert was issued and international humanitarian assistance requested, and the national presidential elections were postponed until November 2016. The storm was raised to a Category 5 on 1 October 2016 before it weakened back to a category 4.

Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on 4 October 2016 as a Category 4 hurricane, causing massive destruction mainly in the departments of Grande-Anse, Sud, Nippes, and Nord-Ouest and to a lesser extent in Sud-Est and Ouest departments. As of July 2017, OCHA reported “1.4 million people among the 2.1 million affected by Hurricane Matthew are still in need of humanitarian assistance”3 . At least 20 percent of the territory was affected. The hurricane brought extensive flooding and mudslides, damage to road infrastructure and buildings, electrical grid and the water system; additionally, the hurricane impacted telecommunications in the affected areas due to the lack of electrical power and damage to both the electrical and telecommunication grids.

The Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS)’s preliminary assessments revealed a need for a humanitarian intervention in water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH), food and non-food items (NFIs), shelter and health. Furthermore, the HRCS found that water infrastructure damage was massive in the main affected cities and that water sources had been contaminated, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, particularly cholera. The storm severely impacted Haiti’s agricultural sector, causing food shortages.

The IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal on 6 October 2016 seeking CHF 6.8 million to help the HRCS aid affected populations. Taking into consideration the scope of the disaster and the needs revealed by the various assessments conducted within the first month of the operation, the members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) in Haiti further articulated their efforts for a stronger and better aligned response to Hurricane Matthew.

The process of Strengthening Movement Coordination and Cooperation (SMCC) was followed and led to the signing of a tripartite agreement specifically for Hurricane Matthew Operation, among the National Society, IFRC and ICRC. That agreement provided for joint Movement intervention in Haiti. Thus, the Appeal was revised to an International Emergency Appeal for CHF 28.2 million to be implemented by all Movement partners present in country, namely American, Canadian, Dominican, French, German, Italian, Japanese, the Netherlands, Spanish and Swiss Red Cross Societies, ICRC and IFRC.

The emergency plan of action put in place by the Movement to respond to Hurricane Matthew was divided into two phases:

The Operation updates no. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 present detailed progress made by the Movement during the emergency and recovery phases of the operation. Despite the challenges, the Movement was able to implement some of the planned activities within the EPoA in the following sectors:

Relief (non-food items) including the distribution of immediate essential household non-food items, emergency wash and shelter materials. When possible, relief teams distributed food to meet the urgent nutritional needs of the affected population during the operation’s first three months.

Health: Based on health assessments, the strategy was comprised of four areas of intervention: delivery of first aid and capacity building in first aid; mobile primary health care clinics; psychosocial support and epidemic prevention.

WASH: All WASH activities have been accompanied by hygiene promotion and social marketing campaigns to ensure sustainability. During the immediate phase, WASH activities focused on the establishment of a solid HRCS hygiene promotion volunteer and trainer pool and hygiene promotion activities around water and NFI distributions. The long-term activities will shift to the provision of sustainable WASH technologies, in close coordination with shelter activities and cholera preparedness and other health-related activities. Through appropriate household water treatment and safe water storage (HWTS) as well as excreta disposal solutions, an overall positive public health impact can be reached.

Shelter and settlement: Community and household support through community participation and the build back better approach to ensure the proper training was received and capacity building activities for repairs and rebuilding were conducted. Cash instalments and/or in-kind distribution facilitated the also construction/repair process.

Livelihoods support for households to ensure economic security and the restoration and protection of beneficiaries’ livelihoods and income-generating activities. Cash transfer and in-kind distributions provided the household items they needed to restart their activities. Capacity building activities and the installation of safe spaces was conducted to help strengthen and protect their assets.

Summary of current response

The HRCS is guiding the operation, supported by Movement partners working in Haiti, in coordination with the DPC at the national and local level. A total of 846 Red Cross volunteers and HRCS staff in affected localities were mobilized to assist the most vulnerable. The information on achievements by Movement partners are centralized on an online database, were each entry is validated by the HRCS prior to being used for monitoring, reporting and dissemination. Coordination and sharing of information with the Department for Civil Protection and other international partners is ongoing.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country The following Red Cross partners are active in country: American Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross Society, Dominican Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and Swiss Red Cross, which support the HRCS on programmes throughout the country; the ICRC and the IFRC are also present in country. The IFRC has been active since the beginning of the operation through its Country Cluster Support Team. IFRC support focused on assessments, sensitization activities, logistics, distributions, financial and in-kind resources, and coordination efforts to operationalize a Movement-wide plan of action to respond to the affected population’s needs.

Initially, the HRCS and the IFRC chaired daily Movement Operations Committee (MOC) meetings. As the operation progressed into the recovery phase, the meetings are now held quarterly. The PNSs in country and ICRC representatives attended the meetings, during which updates, and common issues were discussed.