ACTED has been mobilised in the Sud and Grand’Anse departments since hurricane Matthew hit the region on 4 October 2016 to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to affected populations. In all sectors, needs reached high levels: Matthew caused terrible damages, casualties and losses, destroying houses, infrastructure and crops, and leaving 1.4 million Haitians in need of humanitarian assistance. In January 2017, after three months of unremitting emergency operations, ACTED teams launched the first recovery programmes: A review of six months of emergency operations and what comes next.
Improving access to water, hygiene and sanitation, and fighting cholera
Hurricane Matthew left some 750,000 people without access to safe water. ACTED teams rehabilitated water points and set up water treatment plants and chlorination points, especially beside rivers or stagnant waters, to prevent the consumption of water that may be contaminated and bring diseases like cholera. Also, with support from Veolia, the teams installed six Veolia water treatment units in the affected areas and trained populations on how to use them. The lack of access to safe water is one of the major causes of cholera and one of the top priorities for ACTED. Since October, the teams have been distributing over 520,000 Aquatabs for the disinfection of water as well as over 8,000 hygiene kits and some 10,000 soaps to tackle the sanitation crisis.
Heavy rains, floods and mudslides following hurricane Matthewled to new cholera outbreaks reaching alarming levels. Right after the hurricane in October, some 5,500 cholera cases were reported, up from only 2,377 in September, with half of the reported cases located in the Sud and Grand’Anse departments. ACTED cholera teams have been ramping up their activities to contain the epidemic and tackle its causes. This includes epidemiologic monitoring and investigation, rehabilitating health centres, identifying the areas of origin and vectors of cholera, improving access to safe water by testing and treating it, and raising awareness on the risks of cholera among populations to avoid the spread of the disease, changing mentalities, and ensuring best hygiene practices are established as a habit. Since October 2016, the teams rehabilitated four health centres and alerted over 60,000 people on the risks of cholera and how to avoid the disease