Hurricane Matthew Update: Small steps and BIG plans
It’s been a while since our last update, and this one will be full of good news (the very best news is at the end, so be sure to read it all!). While much of Haiti remains devastated by Hurricane Matthew, GOALS communities in Leogane are well on their way to recovery.
Thanks to your support, GOALS was able to address the immediate concerns of providing food and clean drinking water to the areas which were heavily affected by Hurricane Matthew. We’re proud to say that there hasn’t been a single reported instance of cholera in these communities, which was a major concern. We’re grateful that our previous hygiene outreach and water filter trainings and distributions helped mitigate this risk. Our next goal was assessing damages and trying to get life back to normal as quickly as possible. We met individually with every single one of our children and their families to assess their losses and determine how to best respond:
- Roughly 25% of GOALS participants had floodwater enter their homes
- 20% experienced severe housing damage; 7 roofs and 25 homes were completely lost to the wind and rain
- About 90 children lost material possessions, including their cleats, sports clothes, school clothes, books and materials.
What’s next? While we are continuing to make sure there are no children in our communities going hungry, our next response to Hurricane Matthew will focus on livelihoods and housing. We are working on a micro-finance partnership to create special fund so that GOALS parents may take out a small, interest-free loan to help replace lost livelihoods. Many families lost livestock, agriculture, and merchandise for their small businesses. This partnership is not yet confirmed.
Ready for our biggest and best news? We are thrilled to announce a new partnership to replace the tarp, tent, and wooden houses which were damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Matthew. Many people were simply unable to rebuild after the 2010 earthquake, and were still living in tarp or tent structures, now in tatters post-hurricane. But not for much longer!
With help from our coaches and community leaders, we have already assessed and identified 60 families who qualify to receive a house under our selection criteria. Of these 60 households, for example, five include people with physical or mental handicaps and nearly 2/3 are currently living in a tarp structure (the rest are living in either hand-made tin or wooden houses). These are families which were forgotten by larger aid groups after the earthquake of 2010, and GOALS refuses to let them be forgotten again after Hurricane Matthew.
While we would love to be able to get ALL of our children out of tents and into safe and dignified housing, we are starting with a commitment to build a minimum of five houses
and, funding dependent, we are optimistic about providing houses for all of our GOALS families who have been unable to recover on their own – (up to 100 total houses!) – by the end of 2017. We are thrilled about the opportunity to provide job skills training for GOALS youth who will work alongside skilled tradesmen in constructing these houses.
Thank you again, for all your support and for allowing us to impact these youth and their families in Leogane!