Haiti: Hurricane Matthew - Emergency Appeal Operations n° MDRHT013, Update n° 2

Appeal History:

  • 01 October 2016: Hurricane Matthew is the strongest storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season. Its trajectory is forecasted to cross Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and The Bahamas. Red Cross volunteers are placed on standby, along with IFRC and other Red Cross and Red Crescent personnel and assets.

  • 04 October 2016: Hurricane Matthew makes landfall as the strongest storm to hit Haiti in decades. The government issues a red alert and officially requests humanitarian assistance.

  • 06 October 2016: The Emergency Appeal for 6,852,515 Swiss francs is launched to assist 50,000 people.

  • 10 November 2016: The Revised International Appeal is launched for 28.2 million Swiss francs to assist 147,500 people, integrating the IFRC’s, the ICRC’s and Partner National Societies (PNSs) multilateral support.

  • 25 November 2016: The Operations update No 1 is published to highlight the achievements since the start of the operation


Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on 4 October 2016 as a Category 4 hurricane, causing massive destruction mainly in the departments of Grand’Anse, Sud, Nippes, and Nord-Ouest and to a lesser extent in Sud-Ouest and Ouest departments. The government reported 546 deaths and 438 injuries as a consequence of the hurricane. More than 1.4 million people were reported to be in need of assistance, including 806,000 people in need of urgent food assistance.

Hurricane Matthew severely impacted health facilities and health care capacity. The main concerns remain disease outbreaks, psychosocial stress and access to health care. Moreover, water infrastructure damage is massive in the main affected cities, and water sources were contaminated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the number of suspected cholera cases in Haiti increased from 2,377 in September 2016 to 7,9532 as of 22 November 2016. The Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP for its acronym in French) is leading a vast National oral vaccination campaign against cholera, and 729,0003 people were vaccinated throughout 16 communes in Grand’Anse and Sud in November 2016; at the same time, actions are being taken to ensure that the affected population is provided with potable water and reached through hygiene promotion messages.

The International Organisation for Migration estimates that about 1,811 houses have been destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, and that another approximately 908 have been seriously damaged in affected localities.

Livelihoods and local production were completely decimated in Grand’Anse (100 percent of crops were destroyed). Agriculture is the main source of income for 51 per cent of the population in this region; other livelihoods activities include fishing, selling charcoal, and petty trade. Moreover, food insecurity could worsen in the coming months if farming activities are not urgently restored by mid-November 2016 or January 2017, which are the two main planting seasons in Haiti.

Although humanitarian workers have responded rapidly, the needs remain acute even two months after the passage of the hurricane and the delivery of aid is still not up to scale in order to respond the sheer dimension of the destruction and needs Hurricane Matthew caused. Funding in relation to the immense needs is low and the resources are limited. The delivery of humanitarian assistance has been fraught with tension either during distributions or in areas that have yet to receive assistance; road blocks, public demonstrations at distribution points and truck looting have been regularly reported, leading the Haitian government to request that security forces escort the humanitarian convoys. Further compounding the seriousness of the situation is the continuous rainfall in the affected areas, which has caused flooding and landslides and made it difficult to access the affected population, thereby hampering the humanitarian efforts; since 5 November 2016, torrential rains in northern Haiti have killed 13 people and led to the displacement of 2,780 people to 12 temporary collective centres.

Lastly, National elections took place on 20 November 2016, increased tensions and instability in some of the affected areas during the 2 days that followed the announcement of the provisional results have been reported. Nevertheless, the operations on the ground could be taken up within hours after the announcement without further incidents.

The HRCS, with the support from its Movement partners, promptly responded from the onset of the disaster by rolling out its contingency plan in coordination with the government of Haiti, the IFRC, the ICRC and the PNSs in country. Resources, staff and volunteers were pre-positioned prior to the landfall. The evolution of the situation was monitored closely throughout the passage of the hurricane and first response support was offered as soon as possible through first aid, psychosocial support (PSS), family reunification, the distribution of relief items and basic health care. Global and regional tools from the Movement were deployed to Haiti headed by a Head of Emergency Operations and consisting of disaster managers, a Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT), Emergency Response Units (ERUs) with successfully integrated Regional Intervention Team (RIT) as well as Regional Disaster Response Team members. All these support relief and WASH operations, assess the situation and prepare future response actions based on the beneficiaries’ needs.

While relief activities are ongoing, the FACT team, in collaboration with HRCS and Movement partners, conducted additional assessments to inform the plan of action’s revision; as a result of its efforts, a revised emergency appeal was published on 10 November 2016, seeking CHF 28.2 million (increased from the CHF 6,852,515 that was sought in the initial emergency appeal) for emergency aid and recovery. The needs of the population are vast and FACT assessments reflected a need to scale up the initial intervention plans across all of the sectors The additional funding will enable the IFRC to support the HRCS’s assistance to 147,500 people for 18 months. The expanded operation will focus on the following sectors: health; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; shelter (including household non-food items [NFIs]); livelihoods, food security; disaster risk reduction and restoring family links; it also reflects a substantial increase in the target population, timeframe for implementation, number of activities and of volunteers, and an enlarged geographic scope.

Currently, the revised appeal has received approximately 6,805,091 Swiss francs in hard and soft pledges. Approximately 1,056,364 Swiss francs in bilateral contributions have also been registered (including ERU). To date, the appeal has received financial or in-kind contributions from: American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross Society/Canadian government, Danish Red Cross (from Ole Kirk´s Fond), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), French Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, the Red Cross Society of China’s Hong Kong branch, the Italian government’s bilateral emergency fund, Japanese Red Cross Society/Japanese government, private donors in Luxembourg, Liechtenstein Red Cross; private donors in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Red Cross, Monaco Red Cross/Monaco government, the Republic of Korea government and the Republic of Korea National Red Cross, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Singapore Red Cross Society, Spanish Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross/Swiss government, private donors in Switzerland, the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP), Chilean government, private donors in the United Arab Emirates, Voluntary Emergency Relief Fund (VERF)/WHO. The IFRC on behalf of the HRCS thank all donors and partners for their support.