Hurricane Matthew struck the south west of Haiti in October 2016, leaving widespread flooding, damage to roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals in its wake. 2.1 million people were affected by the hurricane, with 1.4 million in need of immediate assistance and 175,000 forced to share just 224 shelters. After the hurricane hit, the number of cholera cases increased exponentially and many people were left traumatised by the loss of the loved ones, homes and livelihoods.
ActionAid’s women-led humanitarian response focused on Grand Anse, one of the areas hardest hit by the hurricane. Women leaders conducted a rapid assessment that found women, girls and vulnerable community members were the most impacted by the hurricane. The assessment showed that the lack of privacy in shelters for women and girls was leaving them at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence and that Haiti’s already high levels of sexual gender-based violence had increased significantly in the hurricane’s aftermath. The team also found that communities in Grand Anse were facing drastic levels of damage to houses, infrastructure, fishing villages and the loss of livestock.
In response, ActionAid mobilised support for communities, with Women Friendly Spaces, non-food items and cholera kits. We also provided unconditional cash vouchers to support women and women-headed households to access vital resources, like food and water. The response also trained almost 24,000 people with direct and indirect access to protection services and training.
ActionAid’s women-led humanitarian response to Hurricane Matthew supported women and the most vulnerable members of Grand Anse to secure their safety, access vital resources, and to train in women’s rights and protection in the aftermath of the hurricane. Women leaders in Haiti continue to work to ensure that their communities are prepared for future disasters.