Hurricane Matthew is currently tearing through the Caribbean, destroying homes and entire communities in its path and close to hitting the U.S. mainland.
The Category 4 storm is hitting some of the region’s most vulnerable areas, including Haiti, which still is recovering from the catastrophic earthquake in 2010. With winds of up to 145 mph, it is the most powerful storm to affect Haiti in more than a half-century.
Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries, and many residents live in structurally unsound housing in flood-prone areas. This storm could leave thousands of families exposed to the elements, along with increasing the likelihood of waterborne diseases like cholera. And, as many as 12,000 people in Haiti already are struggling with shelter.
Destruction of the bridge that links the capital city, Port-au-Prince, with the southern part of the country means that many communications and infrastructure networks are down, making information gathering very difficult.
ShelterBox already is responding to the disaster. The operations team is deploying a ShelterBox Response Team to Haiti, to arrive in-country on Friday; airport closures in Port-au-Prince prevented an even-earlier arrival. Initial contact has been made with the Rotarian Haiti Disaster Chair
ShelterBox already has some aid material stored in Haiti, and large stocks of aid in Panama, ready to assist during the hurricane season. With airports closed, some of this aid already has been dispatched from Curacao aboard the Dutch Navy vessel HMNS Holland. The aid includes water filtration equipment which, given the flooding, will be vital; solar lighting to assist during electricity blackouts; blankets, special shelter kits of tools and tarpaulins to help weatherproof damaged buildings and other materials.
ShelterBox has worked extensively in Haiti, with the largest response after the 2010 earthquake there. It played a major role in the provision of tented shelters after the 2010 earthquake, which displaced 1 million people. ShelterBox provided more than 28,000 boxes for that emergency, which represented more than 25% of all tented shelter provided for the displaced families of the earthquake.
About Accepting Donations
“Because ShelterBox specialists are in the process of assessing the best way to respond and the most appropriate aid for the situation, and the full scale of our response, we cannot accept donations restricted to the Hurricane Matthew response,” ShelterBox says.
“We are requesting donor support that will help us provide emergency aid to families affected by the hurricane, support people affected by disaster in our numerous other ongoing responses around the world, and enable replacement of exhausted aid supplies. Deployment Essentials or Unrestricted funds would be the most appropriate at this time.”
How You Can Help
One of the quickest ways to help is by sharing ShelterBox updates with your entire network and encouraging them to share with their networks. Here is an example:
· 12,000 people in #Haiti possibly without shelter after #Matthew. ShelterBox Response Team to conduct assessment. http://shelterboxusa.org/matthew
(Please be sure when posting to social media or emailing information that you link to the ShelterBox USA information (not just to ShelterBox).