On October 4, 2016 Hurricane Matthew smashed through Caribbean countries with 145 mile-per-hour winds and torrential rain before hitting the United States later in the week. According to Reuters, Haiti faced the greatest devastation with nearly 900 deaths and tens of thousands left homeless. The powerful storm also severed water pipelines and contaminated drinking water, leaving the country’s residents extremely vulnerable to the waterborne infection, which can be fatal within hours if left untreated. Officials are estimating that 1.4 million Haitians in total are in need of assistance.
Dozens of humanitarian agencies are still delivering lifesaving aid to Haiti, but urgent needs like food and clean water are increasing faster than the funding required to respond. For example, the UN launched a $120 million appeal to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs in Haiti, but the international community has been slow to respond. So far only 33 percent of the UN appeal has been funded.
“One month after the hurricane, life for more than half a million children in Haiti is still far from back to normal,” said Marc Vincent, Haiti Representative for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Too many children are still homeless, hungry, out of school and in danger.”
Helping is important. How we help is critical.
If you’re reading this post, you probably agree that it’s important to help the people of Haiti. But if we really want to make an impact, we must be intentional about how we help. As Hurricane Matthew approached Haiti, France Francois, a Haitian American writer, posted on Facebook about how to help. Her first instruction: “Don’t give to the American Red Cross.” Her post hammering Big Aid and promoting local approaches to relief efforts went viral. Last Thursday, the Washington Post published an article about her statement. The title reads “Haitians are desperate for help. But they don’t want it from the Red Cross.”
Before Hurricane Matthew, Haiti was still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed a quarter of a million people and completely destroyed critical infrastructure like schools and roads. Over 13 billion dollars has been spent in international aid to Haiti, but conditions are still poor and progress has been slow. Maybe it’s time we stop sending “aid” and instead we focus on empowering communities and creating opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty. That is the only thing that can truly prepare Haiti for the next natural disaster.
We support these non-profits working in Haiti
The Never Settle Foundation funds innovative and compassionate 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working in Haiti. They are experts in fields like orphan care, education, and disaster relief. We depend on their programs and network of trusted partners to ensure that donation dollars positively impact Haitians at the end of the line.
Global Orphan Project
The Global Orphan Project has 16 orphanages and schools in Haiti serving about 1,000 children. Fortunately all children were accounted for and kept safe by the local church partners responsible for their care. Five partner locations were significantly impacted and require relief and redevelopment. These efforts include emergency food and water distribution, transportation, temporary lodging, and construction of new lodging. Donate to their Haiti Fund.
Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. They specialize in meeting critical needs for victims of conflict, disaster, famine, and epidemics throughout the world, often working through partners on the ground. Samaritan’s Purse sent two airlifts and 40 tons of water filters, heavy-duty plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and blankets to help survivors of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The 40 tons of supplies sent on October 6 and 7 will reach 5,000 households. Donate to their Haiti Fund.
Convoy of Hope
Convoy of Hope focuses on international disaster relief. They share food, water, emergency supplies, agricultural know-how, and opportunities that empower people to live independent lives, free from poverty, disease and hunger. Convoy of Hope has distributed 2 million meals in Haiti and 14 million more meals have already been shipped from their World Distribution Center to arrive in the coming days. Additional supplies being provided include hygiene kits, baby food, solar lights, and water filters. Donate to their Haiti Fund.