Hurricane Matthew priorities and achievements - Critical needs overview (5 November 2016)

Originally published



Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, passed through Haiti on 4 October causing hundreds of deaths, widespread damage, flooding, and displacement. The hurricane has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. Amongst the 2.1 million people who were affected, nearly 1.4 million need some type of humanitarian assistance.

Roads, basic infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and thousands of homes were damaged or completely destroyed, leaving nearly 175,000 people displaced and more than 330,000 children unable to attend school. At the time of the hurricane, cholera incidence rates had already surpassed those of previous years and the damage to water infrastructure and severe flooding increases the risk of a spike in infection rates.

Humanitarian partners in Haiti launched a Flash Appeal on 10 October 2016 requesting $120 million to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs caused by the hurricane, targeting the 750,000 people most in need within the next three months.

Donors have responded to the appeal but a significant gap between needs and available resources remains. The Flash Appeal has received just 32% of the necessary funding.

Almost immediately after Hurricane Matthew, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) released $6.6 million to address the most urgent needs of the affected people. CERF also released a loan of $8 million to UNICEF to scale up response to the worsening cholera epidemic In-kind contributions have also been made to extend support to the Government of Haiti in response to the humanitarian emergency. These contributions have included the supply of helicopters to facilitate assessment by air in hard-to-reach areas, and the provision of food and NFIs.

As one of the first major emergencies to occur following the endorsement of the Grand Bargain by humanitarian agencies and donors, the humanitarian community are focused on the implementation of key commitments to increase transparency, efficiency and participation in the response. This includes promotion of coordinated assessments, scale-up and effective coordination of cash assistance, communication with communities, and localization of the response.

An additional $19 million above and beyond that first sought in the initial Flash Appeal is sought in this revision and is urgently needed to adequately support the Haitian government in meeting the critical needs of affected populations in priority areas including food security, access to safe water, shelter support, health care, protection and adequate sanitation to prevent the outbreak of water-borne infectious diseases.

Children and women, particularly pregnant women, are among the worst affected by the hurricane and a particular emphasis on their needs is critical.

As partners have responded to needs identified in the initial appeal, developing projects and carrying out further needs assessments, a more precise picture of priority needs and associated financial requirements has emerged.

This critical needs overview summarizes this additional information and provides an update on the progress that has been made by the humanitarian community in responding to the needs specified in the Flash Appeal. It identifies the most urgent unmet needs, and the critical financial gaps that remain.


Urgent needs outside the focus area identified in the Flash Appeal, including in the North-West of the country, in Nippes and in La Gonave have been identified

With a large number of affected communities cut off or only accessible by helicopter, sustained logistical support as well as a focus on road-clearing activities is needed

73 health facilities have been damaged, including loss of cold chain capacity, loss of vaccine stocks and reduction in emergency maternal health response capacity. Ensuring health services are available in affected communities, in particular in communities vulnerable to cholera, is critical

As further information becomes available from needs assessments conducted since the Flash Appeal, increasingly urgent needs across a broad area are becoming evident

Efforts to safeguard those in emergency shelters from SGBV must be stepped up

150,000 children are out of school following the hurricane, and support is needed to restore access to education services

A principled returns strategy for those in temporary shelters, ensuring the protection of vulnerable people, should be rapidly put in place to support safe and timely returns

Some 806,000 people are in urgent need of food assistance, with a particular emphasis on preventing a deterioration in the nutritional status of pregnant women and young children

The Hurricane Matthew response remains seriously underfunded, with just 32% of identified needs covered to date by donor contributions

Ensuring the 175,000 people who remain in temporary shelters have adequate access to safe water and sanitation is an urgent priority

More than 500,000 people have unmet shelter needs, and supplies of basic shelter materials are running low

Urgent livelihoods support is required to ensure that affected communities do not miss the November planting season, further worsening an already poor food security situation

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.