Haitian People Respond to Hurricane Matthew
On October 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, killing well over 1000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands without shelter or food. The hurricane has devastated the city of Les Cayes, Jeremie, and many villages in the Southwestern part of the country, destroying crops and livestock and reversing the gains in food production made by women’s agricultural cooperatives and other local farmers. With massive flooding has come a deadly spike in water-borne diseases, particularly cholera (brought to Haiti by UN troops), which has already reached epidemic proportions.
While the situation in Haiti has mostly faded from the pages of the world media, the catastrophic conditions faced by the Haitian people have only gotten worse. The hurricane hit Haiti just days before the October 9th presidential elections were due to take place. People had worked very hard for over a year, risking their lives to demand free and fair elections after the 2015 electoral results were declared fraudulent. Elections have now been postponed until late November. Popular organizations in Haiti are hard at work trying to ensure that families and communities can survive and rebuild, and that when the new election takes place, each and every vote is counted.
We urge all friends of Haiti donate as much as they can to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Your donations will go directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti that are saving lives by helping people on the ground access water, food and shelter, and reconstructing their lives. Unlike the big NGOs, many of which were accused of profiteering from the billions donated by a generous public after the earthquake, HERF pays no wages and takes no cut. Volunteers do all the work, and all the money we collect goes directly to those who need it, starting with women – the primary caregivers in every community.
Here are just a few examples of what your generous contributions have supported in the last few weeks:
* The Aristide Foundation For Democracy has organized mobile health clinics for those impacted by the hurricane and the expanding cholera epidemic and has helped send “Caravans of Dignity and Solidarity” into Les Cayes and smaller towns in the Southern Department, as well as Jeremie and the Grand’Anse Department. In those areas, Haitian grassroots activists have distributed food, water, water purification kits, hygiene and sanitation kits, roofing and building supplies. They have also set up mobile health clinics, treating injuries, and helping the population grapple with the massive flare-up of the cholera epidemic. These teams have been first responders in these areas – providing the very first assistance that many of these communities have seen.
* Women’s Agricultural Cooperatives and a network of Women’s Organizations in the Les Cayes-Aquin area have distributed food, drinking water, and water purification tablets, tarps and supplies for emergency roof repairs. They have also organized numerous work teams to clear local roads, which have been made impassable due to the hurricane.
* Radio Timoun, based within the Aristide Foundation, and other local independent radio stations that have received support from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, have provided consistent and needed information throughout the crisis, including giving the poorest communities in Haiti needed updates about where and when to access solidarity brigades that have come to their areas with supplies and food.
* HERF-supported schools and women’s organizations in the Port-au-Prince area have organized support campaigns and caravans to the hardest hit sections of Les Cayes, Camp-Perrin, St. Louis du Sud, and rural areas of Grand’Anse.
* One of the major effects of the hurricane has been to wipe out food production in the Southern peninsula. This has led to famine in that area. Your funds have helped provide local activists in Les Cayes with the ability to feed hot meals to 500 children several days per week. This project is designed to last through mid-November.
This is but a short list of the work that you are supporting. In essence, you are supporting the work of the democratic movement in Haiti, which is determined to aid Haitians assisting Haitians in the spirit of solidarity and dignity. We are responding to their call and their lead.
Please Donate On Line or Send Checks To:
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
P. O. BOX 4670
Berkeley, CA 94704
All donations are tax-deductible.
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, tax ID# 94-3249753