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Humanitarian Bulletin Latin America and Caribbean Volume 29 | September – October 2016

Situation Report
Originally published
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• More than 1.4 million people need humanitarian assistance in Cuba and Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

• Some 12.5 million people have been affected by disasters in 2016. Droughts and hurricanes have caused the worst impacts .

• Six months after the Ecuador earthquake, US$26.9 million has been funded of the $72.8 international appeal

• A study shows that gender equality in humanitarian action is most effective when it focuses on protecting the rights and long-term well -being of the most vulnerable people.

Matthew causes destruction in the Caribbean

More than US$ 140 million are needed to meet the urgent needs of 1.4 million people affected in Cuba and Haiti

Matthew (Category 5) is the strongest hurricane to hit the Caribbean since Felix in 2007. Matthew hit Haiti and Cuba as category four hurricane. Other countries affected were Colombia, Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the United States.

Cuba: Matthew battered eastern Cuba for eight hours (4 and 5 October 2016). 1.5 million people live in the most affected territories - in the provinces of Guantánamo and Holguín. Some most affected areas were facing development challenges before the hurricane.

Hurricane Matthew left 365,602 people in need of assistance (147,698 women, 47,450 seniors and 24,320 children under 5). In the municipalities of Baracoa and Maisí, more than 90 percent of homes were damaged. Many families lost sustenance crops and livestock, which represent an important part of their daily diet.

The United Nations activated its rapid financing mechanisms to support the national response, facilitating the delivery of pre-positioned tarps and food.

OCHA, through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), disbursed $5.4 million to respond to the most urgent needs in the sectors of housing, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education.

The United Nations presented a Plan of Action to the international community seeking to raise $26.5 million to support the country’s immediate response and early recovery efforts in assisting severely affected people.

Haiti: Matthew caused the worst humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake. Hurricane force winds, floods and landslides damaged roads, infrastructure and buildings and caused water and electricity shortages.

Humanitarian needs include access to safe water, education, shelter, child protection, health and nutrition. Food insecurity is evident, especially in areas where more than 75 percent of the population was affected by the hurricane and subsistence activities such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries were almost completely destroyed.

Of the 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 40 percent are children. Another estimated 40 percent (about 546,000 people) are women of reproductive age.

Haiti’s Humanitarian Country Team, in coordination with the Government and partners, launched an international appeal revised to raise $139 million to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs for 750,000 people, including 315,000 children, over the next three months.

Almost immediately after Matthew's impact, OCHA - through the CERF- released more than $6 million to address the urgent needs of those affected. The CERF had also provided UNICEF with an $8 million loan to strengthen the response to the worsening cholera epidemic.

In the overall response to Matthew, United Nations Evaluation and Coordination Teams (UNDAC) were deployed to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas, and coordination and information management specialists to Cuba. More than 200 specialist technicians were deployed and 250 metric tons of humanitarian assistance (food, telecommunications equipment, water, sanitation and hygiene, medical supplies, among others) were shipped from the Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Panama through chartered planes and ships.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit