Tropical Storm Isaac, the most violent storm to hit Haiti since the earthquake in 2010, has crossed over the country causing severe flooding and destruction. At least 24 people have died, 42 were wounded and more than 16,000 people had to be evacuated.
In response to this crisis situation, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency Malteser International is providing emergency repairs and equipment. Thomas Huefken, the Order’s Programme Coordinator on the ground in Port-au-Prince explains: “We hand over all materials to the Haitian civil protection which will organise groups to repair houses, remove the waste and the debris and to construct temporary shelters for the homeless”.
The most serious damage occurred in the southeastern rural part the island, where the Order of Malta’s project region Belle-Anse is situated. One of the poorest regions of the country, its circa-70,000 inhabitants were cut off from the rest of the island. More than 4,000 houses were destroyed, damaged or flooded and families have lost their crops, harvests and cattle (about 30,000 livestock were lost). Here, Malteser International will concentrate on repairing the destroyed sanitary facilities, the community and home gardens and the aqueduct that was constructed by the Order’s relief agency together with local villagers.
Since 2010, Malteser International has been running a comprehensive relief programme in Belle-Anse aiming to improve the health situation and to strengthen the self-help capacities of the population in the fields of water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.