BALTIMORE—Lutheran World Relief has launched an emergency relief response in Haiti that will reach thousands of people who need basic assistance in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The Baltimore-based relief and development agency is also finalizing plans to respond to the longer-term needs of people affected by the hurricane.
LWR’s immediate emergency response will assist more than 7,000 people in some of the most affected areas of the country. Working with the ACT Alliance, a global faith-based humanitarian coalition, LWR will meet basic needs of people in the south through distributions of temporary shelter kits, as well as hygiene and food kits.
LWR this week shipped 100 community water filtration units from prepositioned stock at the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) warehouse in Dubai, which was made possible by a donated charter flight. These units will be distributed in coordination with LWR’s partner Norwegian Church Aid, reaching 4,600 people in the southwest, where clean water will be essential for cholera prevention. These units will be used in conjunction with a distribution of hygiene kits and hygiene promotion campaigns.
The Lutheran World Federation, an LWR partner, has already distributed LWR Project Promise Personal Care and Baby Care Kits to people in the towns of Les Cayes and Aquin, located in the hardest hit southern region of the country. In the Central Plateau of the country, LWR will focus on hygiene and food kit distributions.
LWR’s longer term response will focus on helping farmers and fishermen in the Northwest Department to reestablish their livelihoods through the distribution of seeds and tools, and fishing equipment. This area was already experiencing a food crisis before the hurricane due to an El Niño-fueled drought that cause widespread crop failures, limiting food availability and leading to substantial price increases for locally grown crops.
Mausert Francois, director of LWR local Haitian partner ADEMA, described the intensity and devastation of the hurricane. The Northwest Department received more than 24 inches of rain, more than falls in an average year, in less than 24 hours. The roof of the ADEMA building blew off in the first hour of the storm.
“Fishing villages along coast were almost entirely destroyed,” he said. “They are adapting, doing what they can to survive.”
In addition to the destruction of crops such as banana, yucca, sweet potato, and peanuts, which were being harvested at the time of the storm, farmers have suffered a catastrophic loss of livestock, which is a key source of cash and savings.
LWR has worked in Haiti since 1997 to support farmers, increase food security, strengthen agricultural cooperatives and protect natural resources. After Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, LWR provided material resources and support to restore lost livelihoods, while also working to support rural communities taking in those displaced by the disaster.
Currently, LWR programs increase poor rural farming communities’ participation in market value chains, improve food security and promote reforestation in northern Haiti.
How to Help
To give to the relief fund, please visit lwr.org/donate/hurricane-matthew, call 1-800-597-5972, or mail a check to Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21297-1061 (please note “Hurricane Matthew – Haiti Fund” on your check).