Haiti: We Need Somewhere to Live
30 November 2016
As I walk through the ruins and rubble of Tiburon town, there doesn’t seem to be a single house that hasn’t been damaged in some way. Rosette, 21, takes me to see the damage to her house. As I start to take a photo, my colleague Richard catches me by the arm.
“You’re looking at the wrong house,” he says, gently taking my shoulders and turning me a quarter circle to the left. “That was Rosette’s house.”
I’ve never seen anything like it. Where there should be a house, there’s little more than smashed-up pieces of rocks atop a cement foundation.
When Hurricane Matthew struck, Rosette fled to the school with her 16-month-old son and her mother Tristiane. So thankfully they weren’t at home when the winds picked up a massive tree that crushed their house to rubble.
“We put everything we saved into this house,” says Tristiane, staring at the wreckage. “It took years to save and build it. We just finished building in June, but it was ours.”
Rosette and Tristiane have made a temporary shelter out of palm tree strips on their neighbour’s land. “This is where we live now,” says Rosette. “We made a roof out of scrap metal we found after the storm, but when it rains, the roof leaks, and there are no doors. We just have a curtain.”
They lost their home, their possessions, their goats and cows, and their livelihoods. Rosette had been attending college, but her focus has swiftly shifted to survival.
“Everything was destroyed in the storm,” says Rosette. “We don’t have animals and we don’t have land to grow vegetables. We can’t even think about how long it will take to build again. We don’t have anything.”
“Right now we need shelter,” says Tristiane. “We need somewhere to live. This—” She waves a hand around the palm structure where she lives—“This is difficult. Right now I have no hope.”
Medair’s team is responding to the emergency by giving out 2,500 shelter kits and 2,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families in remote Tiburon commune. “I’m going to use the tarp to cover our house so that water doesn’t come in when it rains,” says Rosette. “Thank you for the kit and for visiting my family. May God bless you!”
While Rosette and Tristiane still have much to worry about, they’ll at least have a dry place to sleep, and safe drinking water that won’t make them ill for the next little while. They’ll have time to catch their breath before facing the long road to recovery that lies ahead.
Thank you for supporting devastated families in Haiti like Rosette and Tristiane’s. Your gifts are making all the difference.
Medair’s emergency response team is working in Tiburon commune on the country’s far southwest coast, a remote corner of Haiti where few other organisations—or indeed Haitians—ever venture. Our assessment found that 90 percent of the homes in Tiburon commune had been destroyed in the storm, and many community water points had been damaged.
Medair’s emergency response in Haiti is made possible by US Agency for International Aid, Integral Alliance, Interaction (CH), Läkarmissionen (SE), Medicor Foundation (LI), Swiss Solidarity, and generous private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.