HAITI AFTER HURRICANE MATTHEW
There are those who urge us to stop foreign aid on the grounds that there are enough poor people here in our own country who should have priority. Besides, everyone knows that aid money goes straight into the pockets of crooks or a corrupt government
and spent on arms. What is the point of giving money-they will only come back for more.
REALLY? Take Haiti, the poorest state in the Caribbean and the poorest part of Haiti in the southwest around the towns of Roseaux and Jeremie.
In 2010 the island was hit by an earthquake that caused the deaths of 240,000 out of a population of just 8 million. In addition there is the annual hurricane- this year, it was Hurricane Matthew.
In human, rather than statistical terms...
Fitanise, mother of four
(At home with her family when Matthew struck). "The storm ripped the thatched roof from our cottage which was terrifying for us all. After a long period of drought I had managed to plant corn in my field- I will never harvest this corn because of the storm. This was our only source of income. The hurricane was the last straw for my family.
A week after the storm, I had to make a heart-wrenching decision to leave my children and go to Jeremie to find work so I could support them. The hurricane left us with nothing- my hands were the only thing I had. I went to Jeremie to do laundry for people in exchange for money. As soon as I earned a few Gourdes I bought food and sent it to my family. This work is hard and I was worried about my children."
(Thanks to Action Aid, Fitanise was given beans and vegetable to plant so was able to return home and look after her children.)
She and her family live six hours walk away from the city of Jeremie. Her village is located in the hills, and the winds tore through the community rippingg metal roofing sheets in its path.
Leriante explains..."When the storm hit, I was so frightened because the wind was so violent. At 4 am the wind took the roof off my house and we were terrified. One of my children suggested we go to hide in a rock that looks like a cave where they sometimes play. We ran as fast as we could to avoid getting hit by things that the wind was throwing. As we ran I saw the rest of my house collapsing. I was n't sure if we would make it to the cave. We spent two days there in the cold; my children were upset but there was nothing I could do to protest them.
My husband collected some shabby metal sheets and what was left of our house to make a shelter for us to sleep in at night. But we had such terrible rains after the hurricane it did n't offer any protection at all. It is the first time I have experienced something like this. It rained for days after the storm; we ate what we could find next to fallen trees and collected rainwater to drink.
We were desperate because we felt sure no one would be able to come and help us-we are so far from Jeremie and the river was so swollen with rain we had become cut off. To our surprise ActionAid made contact and we received hygiene kits, food, metal sheets and nails to rebuild our house. I am happy because my family has somewhere safe and dry to sleep. I can't thank ActionAid enough."
(The little boy we sponsor)
He and his family have been able to return home and we have just received the following letter from him...
"I am feeling happy to write you this message How are you? I am fine thanks to God. I hope my message finds you well. As you may know the hurricane Matthew destroyed many gardens, houses and animals. I passed many days out of school. After the hurricane I went to a program called psychosocial support and I was happy for that. I was happy to get back to school.
His fieldworker added "your sponsored child participated in a child safe place event after the hurricane Matthew where they learned things on how to protect themselves from natural disasters and diseases."
Elizabeth and I do not find it difficult to put ourselves into the shoes of Haitians such as these and is why we make our small contributions to ActionAid. Please note, they do not go to any corrupt government or criminal elements. They go directly to the resilient people of Haiti to help them rebuild their lives and pull themselves up by their own boot strings in the face of monumental natural disasters the like of which, mercifully, we know not.