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What next for Hurricane Matthew survivors?

Craig Burnett | 12 October 2016 | 0 Comments

In Haiti Jeantisee, Ernancy and Carto look to the future with hope and fear.

Concern teams have been assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, as the first step in a huge effort to help people hit by the disaster. Our staff visited Cité Soleil, a poor neighbourhood in the capital Port-au-Prince. Housing here is extremely basic, and it is hard to earn a decent living. These conditions made people extremely vulnerable when disaster struck.

Water floods in – and rises from the ground too

Jeantisse Michelin lives in the Ti Ayiti neighborhood of the Cité Soleil slum with her husband and five children, aged 5 to 19 years old. Photo: Kristin Myers / Concern Worldwide.

Jeantisse Michelin lives in Cité Soleil with her husband and five children. She gestures to the doorway, holding her hands just above knee height to show how high the water flooded her home. She piled all of their belongings on a bed to make sure they wouldn’t get wet. “The wind was shaking the house,” Jeantisse explains. She didn’t have to just deal with the flood water, but also rising up from the ground where her home is built.

She was able to take care of her children after the storm hit, using the little money and food the family had saved up. “It wasn’t enough to fill their stomachs,” she says. “But we have enough to give them all some food for five days.” Jeantisse’s husband doesn’t have a permanent job, and can’t find work every day. Jeantisse explains: “When we have, we can eat, and when we don’t, we don’t.”

Fighting for change

Community worker Ernancy Bienaimee in Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Kristin Myers / Concern Worldwide.

Ernancy Bienaimee, 32, is a Cité Soleil resident and a community leader. She was born and raised in the slum, and still lives here with her husband, and her daughter. Her parents live here too.

Her hope is to see Cité Soleil change, so that it isn’t known as a huge slum. She wants to see people in better health instead of getting typhoid, cholera and malaria. “If one person can change the world, me, I can change Cité Soleil.”

A father worries for his family

This is all that’s left of Carto Francois’ house. He’s a carpenter, but now he has no way of making a living. The family have lost clothes and important documents – and now cholera threatens their community. He tells us:

I’m very worried for my family. I don’t know how I’m going to take care of them and their needs.

Read more about the Francois family's story

The remains of the François family home. The family lost all of their possessions after the wind and the rain caused their home to collapse. Photo: Kristin Myers / Concern Worldwide.

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