Half a million children live in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti – UNICEF | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content
Publication Date: 2016/10/07

UNICEF will need at least $5 million to meet children’s immediate needs, according to preliminary estimates

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PORT-AU-PRINCE/NEW YORK, 7 October 2016 – An estimated 500,000 children live in the Grande Anse and Grand South departments in southern Haiti, the areas worst hit by Hurricane Matthew, UNICEF said today. Three days after the storm, it remains unclear how many of them need urgent assistance as damage to road infrastructure continues to hamper assessment and relief efforts.

“We’re still far from having a full picture of the extent of the damage,” said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “We are hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst.”

Up to 80 per cent of homes in the south are reportedly damaged and nearly 16,000 people are staying in temporary shelters. Some 175 schools are believed to have sustained heavy damage and at least 150 schools throughout the country are being used to shelter evacuees.  

A UNICEF team which reached Les Cayes, one of the worst affected areas in Grand South, reported massive flooding, particularly in low-lying areas, and damage to the town’s hospital and other health centres. Families are struggling to find safe water and adequate latrines.

UNICEF had prepositioned emergency supplies with national authorities to reach up to 10,000 people. Additional water and sanitation supplies, such as water purification tablets, water bladders and plastic sheeting, have been dispatched to the most affected departments in the westernmost tip of Haiti. Humanitarian needs assessments are under way and additional relief supplies will certainly be needed as the full impact of the hurricane becomes clearer.

UNICEF also said today that it would need at least $5 million to meet children’s most pressing needs including:
Providing safe water and adequate sanitation to help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases;

  • Restoring health services to help prevent and treat malnutrition among young children and provide essential vitamins and anti-diarrhoea treatment;
  • Setting up temporary learning spaces so that children can resume their learning; and
  • Supporting child protection services to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse.

“The more information we can gather on the ground, the better we can support the government’s efforts to help children and their families cope with the scale of destruction,” Vincent said.

 Donate now to help UNICEF ensure rapid lifesaving action for children and families affected by the storm.

About UNICEF

UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our live-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For further information:

Marie-Hélène Bachand, Communications Manager, 416 482-6552 x8425 / 514-232-4510, mbachand@unicef.ca