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Hurricane Matthew Update | “You have to accept there is a recovery time for all”

Families on the island of Île à Vache, where Haven’s Programmes Manager, Ailish O’Reilly, is based, are facing difficult challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  Here, Ailish describes how they are being brought into the recovery process.


We are back to basics in Chache Lavi and planning our programme towards the end of the year.  As we move into December, we need to plan out what we can close off before the year end, moving the rest into an early start in January 2017.  The hurricane has really derailed our plans, but that is the reality of a catastrophic event: you have to accept there is a recovery time for all.

Meetings with the Mayor of Île à Vache on the emergency response are ongoing to plan further food distributions, as well as the Shelterbox kits and plan for the kits that are due to arrive in December.  We have reviewed the schools and await news on a potential programme to help those affected by the hurricane.  We will do a food distribution on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

The housing project is into its first month.  We’ve had the challenge of finding material already, but currently the shortage is nails.  We can only buy roofing nails by the pound: it is more expensive, but this is a response to supply and demand.  You cannot buy a box of square-ridged nails in Les Cayes at the moment.  We buy all we can – 20 pounds – and send a request to Port au Prince for more: they are hard to source there also.  We have enough to keep going, so will keep sourcing them.

We add 13 houses in Point Est into our programme: the guys are out there distributing, and fixing houses this week.  They are also rotating through Nan Roche, La Fortune, Pradel, and Dentelle.  We are trying to spread the help over all of the zones where we are currently working.

The three Yacinthe sisters all live beside each other in Pleine Jean.  Two houses are ready for repair and one needs a rebuild.  Their mother was hit by timber during the hurricane and died the week after.   The family resources are limited; they have lost their mother; and their homes are in bad shape.

We are very happy that we have the capacity to help these women and their families.

Sarah Fitzpatrick of Haven US and Haven supporter Maacha Le Blanc are down to see our work in Haiti.  They arrive back from visiting some of the homes in our project, just in time to form the human chain for the food distribution.  Talk about getting hands-on experience of the emergency response work!

To round off the week, we have our introductory training session for our beauty therapy training.  The training is being carried out by volunteer and salon owner Lesley Manson.  It is an energetic morning in a lovely atmosphere and a real laugh when it turns out that the students are all related – aunts and cousins!

Beauty training sessions provide women in Haiti with new skills

You can help more families in Haiti to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

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