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Humanity & Inclusion uses boats to deliver aid to earthquake victims as storm hits Haiti

Press Release | London, 19th August 2021, 10:00 GMT

Humanity & Inclusion teams in Haiti are preparing an emergency response following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday. The affected regions remain blocked, preventing thousands of people from receiving vital aid. Humanity & Inclusion is providing the only maritime transport for humanitarian aid in the Southwest of Haiti. With an epicentre located about 13km (8 miles) from Petit Trou de Nippes, the most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grande Anse regions of Haiti, where hundreds of homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged and destroyed. Ongoing evaluations of the situation show the death toll on a steady rise as official reports estimate up to 1,900 casualties so far, with the number expected to grow.

Over 10,000 people have been injured in the disaster, more than 46,000 homes were damaged and 40,000 were completely destroyed, leaving thousands displaced and without shelter.

Tropical Depression "Grace" is expected to bring further destruction to the country.

A major problem right now is the storm. According to the latest news, it is much more powerful than we thought, and will surely have a significant impact on the South. We’re expecting a lot of damage, heavy rain, and landslides. So, we’re trying to follow the weather situation, but it’s important to get to the field quickly, and particularly to that area,” explains Agathe Lo Presti, Humanity & Inclusion Haiti programme director. “We plan to go to the Grand’Anse region, because there is a lot of need and very few NGOs responding. Organisations don’t go because it is very isolated and very complicated to access, with a widely dispersed population and very limited means of communication among the mountains. But, even though Grand’Anse was not hit as hard as the South, the health infrastructure is much more limited. After hurricane Matthew, the area was much more vulnerable, so we know there is great need.”  

"Access is a major concern at this point for our team and Atlas logistics,” adds Agathe Lo Presti. “The departmental road #7, which connects the Grand’Anse to the South has been completely blocked by landslides following the earthquake. Any roadway movement between the two departments is essentially impossible until it has been cleared, delaying important aid to the most affected areas."

Logistics teams are in the process of clearing the rubble as quickly as possible and hope to reopen the road by Wednesday.

Humanity & Inclusion is providing the only maritime transport for humanitarian aid in the Southwest of Haiti. The organisation plans to organise shipment pooling for NGOs and send around 760 tonnes of food, as well as medical supplies and essential non-food items by the end of August.  

3 priority areas of action

Humanity & Inclusion teams have been assessing the situation and planning an emergency response. They have identified three areas of priority:

  • medical support (including care for the wounded and emergency rehabilitation),

  • logistics support

  • essential needs (food, shelter, sanitation and hygiene)

For Humanity & Inclusion, the priority will be post-operative rehabilitation: to ensure the rehabilitation of the injured who have undergone surgery. In a country like Haiti with a very poor and vulnerable population, which has few means to move around, the challenge is to make humanitarian aid accessible. Often, in this type of situation, we set up advanced rehabilitation posts within the communities themselves. Another option would be to organise mobile teams to visit the villages. This allows us to go directly to the people who need rehabilitation. Additionally, we often provide rehabilitation support to medical teams in hospitals: either by reinforcing their staff, or by advising them in rehabilitation management.” explains Sibille Buehlmann, Rehabilitation Expert for Humanity & Inclusion

Teams are already on-site, and reinforcements arrived on Wednesday. However, staff report that this coordination is made more difficult by a current lack of access to the most affected regions.

Since 2010, Humanity & Inclusion has remained a major rehabilitation actor in Haiti. The organisation has helped to structure the national rehabilitation services, which were almost non-existent ten years ago.  At present, the hospitals in the South East are overwhelmed by the flow of injured people-  and in this kind of situation, the risk of infection due to the lack of medical teams and medical equipment is very high. The risk for people with fractures who do not undergo surgery or who receive bad operations, is the possibility of disabling after-effects. However, even after a successful operation, rehabilitation is essential to regain mobility in the affected limbs, arm or leg. In Haiti, almost everyone does manual labor: cultivating a small plot of land, repairing various objects, daily work, etc. Physical mobility is almost required for families to have an income.” says Sibille Buehlmann.


Notes

- Experts available for interviews

- Emergency appeal: Humanity & Inclusion has launched an emergency appeal to support the people impacted by the eartquake:  https://donate.humanity-inclusion.org.uk/give/haiti-earthquake/

About our work in Haiti

Humanity & Inclusion has been in Haiti since 2008 and has developed a close relationship with the community. The organisation has been an active part of disaster relief interventions related to the 2010 earthquake and 2016 hurricane Matthew, while ensuring an inclusive humanitarian response in these efforts. Among other activities such as inclusive livelihood and rehabilitation, Humanity & Inclusion also set up the first DVFP (disability and vulnerability focal points) and partnered with the BSEIPH (Office of the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities). Today, Humanity & Inclusion remains committed to serving the people of Haiti in this moment of great need.

About Humanity & Inclusion

Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion is an international charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable groups to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. 

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UK Press Team


Marlene Manning, Media Officer
Email: media.uk@hi.org
Mobile: +44 (0)7934 602 961
Tel.: +44 (0)870 774 3737