PORT-AU-PRINCE – A week after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, those harmed by the storm complain about the scant, slowly distributed trickle of aid available to help them get through the aftermath.
In the southern commune of Dame Marie, still cut off from the rest of the country, those affected increasingly complain about the situation and according to Mayor Michel Guerlince, at present there is “nothing to distribute” among the victims.
In a statement to EFE, Guerlince said that both the government and the international community have abandoned the area.
Guerlince said they have “nothing to distribute now, and in the coming days if there’s no water or food the worst can happen.”
“People have lost practically everything they had. We’re hoping help will come,” he said.
For his part, Andre Joseph, father of four, said that though they survived the hurricane, no one knows if they can “survive the hunger.”
“We’re out of water and the only healthcare center here hasn’t enough facilities or doctors for the number of people,” he said.
Hundreds of locals spend the day on a soccer pitch waiting for some kind of aid to arrive.
More than 70 percent of homes in Dame Marie had their roofs blown off and most of the plantations were totally destroyed.
Several countries like the United States, Spain and the neighboring Dominican Republic have sent aid to Haiti, and this Monday the United Nations asked for $119.9 million to assist the 750,000 people in the southwestern part of the country who were hit hardest by the hurricane.
More than 19 percent of Haiti’s 2.1 million citizens have been harmed in some way by Hurricane Matthew and over 12 percent – 1.4 million – require urgent aid in different provinces around the country, particularly in the south and in Grand’Anse, according to the Haitian Interior Ministry as cited by the UN.
Funding is vital to help Haitian authorities and civil society cover the inhabitants’ basic needs like drinking water, food and shelters to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the UN said.
Local authorities’ top priority is to reach the hardest hit towns and help their inhabitants avoid an eventual outbreak of cholera, an epidemic that spread through the country after the 2010 earthquake.
The latest provisional figures released Monday by emergency management services showed that Matthew left 372 dead, 4 missing, 246 injured and 175,000 displaced persons in 224 shelters.
But aid organizations and local authorities said last Friday that there were more than 800 fatalities.
Hurricane Matthew forced Haitian electoral authorities to postpone the general elections originally scheduled for last Sunday, Oct. 9.