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[Haiti] Four years since Hurricane Matthew made a landfall in Haiti

Four years since Hurricane Matthew made a landfall in Haiti – need for more resilient community to natural disaster
On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, went through and devastated Haiti.  This was the largest catastrophic event since the earthquake of 2010 which struck near the capital of the country.
According to U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), about 2.1 million people were affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) responded and provided emergency goods such as tarpaulin, blankets, soaps, and shelter repair kits to over 3,500 households in South department communities who were severely affected by the hurricane.
PWJ continues to work in Haiti – assisting communities to be more resilient to natural disaster.
Here is a story from our field staff, her house was also heavily damaged by the Hurricane Matthew:


Hello! My name is Henriette.
I’m a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ) and DRR(Disaster Risk Reduction) consultant for PWJ.
I was born and grew up in the South Department of Haiti, where PWJ has been implementing projects.
In South department, which is located south western Haiti is known for fisheries and agriculture because it is surrounding by the big ocean and mountains. Its special products are fresh fish and lobster in the ocean and cashew nuts and peanuts in the mountains. It is also famous for producing delicious Haitian rice, our main diet.
During the Hurricane Matthew emergency response in 2016, I assisted PWJ distributing goods for people devastated in Torbek in southwestern Haiti, where I live. This was my first time to meet and know PWJ.


(Henriette, center, helps PWJ emergency distribution in 2016)

I joined PWJ in 2018, when a new project aiming for enhancing people’s capacity of disaster response in the South Department, to help improve vulnerable communities leveraging my experiences of WASH (water and sanitation, hygiene awareness) activities for Haitian Red Cross and many other organizations.
My role at PWJ is, together with PWJ facilitators, to give advices and share knowledge of WASH and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to village promotors as well as at schools, so that people gain knowledge of good hygiene practice such as correct hand washing method and the importance of keeping a clean environment at home and schools.


写真2(リスクマップ作成)  (Left:Hand washing practice with Tippy-Taps, Right: Henriette facilitates mapping hazards in the village)

However, our activities do not always go as planned. There are days that we cannot go to the field because we have very heavy rain, and for the past few years, the political unrest has been affecting people’s lives and people take the streets to show their frustration by burning tires, blocking roads and organize demonstrations all over the country.   There are days that we cannot go out from office or house because of demonstrations becoming too dangerous. Together with my colleagues, we pray that our home and office do not become a target of violence.
Despite some unsettling environment at times, I still want to continue our project because of people we support are waiting for us. One of the fond memories from my past work at PWJ, was an influential person whom I met in Saint-Jean-du-Sud in 2018 while I was talking about the importance of utilizing the bathroom to people, he gave me a sincere compliment and words of encouragement for what we do and became our big supporter in this community.  I feel this is the reason for me to continue my work at PWJ.


(Henriette gives WASH training to village promoters)

Even though my work is not easy sometimes, I ‘m proud of what I’m doing at PWJ and continue to do my best in order to help people living in vulnerable area acquire knowledge on WASH and DRR and build disaster-resilience community.


This project was implemented through Grant Aid for Japanese NGO’s Projects, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and PWJ supporters.

Thank you for your continuous support!




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