Haiti was still recovering from a 2010 earthquake which caused mass destruction when Hurricane Matthew made landfall on October 4, 2016 as a Category 4. The Hurricane continued over Cuba and then across The Bahamas. It then brought havoc to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
While the devastation across the path of the Hurricane is severe, the situation in Haiti is particularly perilous. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that 14% of the country’s entire population has been impacted by this storm. Destructive winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous storm surges decimated the infrastructure in the area. Landslides, flooding and debris continue to impede humanitarian access to the area. Homes were completely destroyed, as were schools, and other structures. Transportation to some areas is impossible. Extensive damage to crops and livestock ensures a long period of food insecurity.
The greatest needs at this point are clean water, sanitation, hygiene needs and emergency food.
As reported by the New York Times, cholera was already in the area. About 10,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands sickened since cholera first appeared in 2010. When the floods came, cholera was carried down by the water, contaminating the river and water supplies. There is an urgent effort to prevent further spread of the disease.