Hurricane Matthew - Questions & Answers

Questions and answers on Hurricane Matthew, including the importance of ensuring a disability inclusive response.

What happened?

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in southwestern Haiti early on Tuesday 4 October, centred some 250 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, causing major floods and forcing thousands to flee. Five days post-hurricane, communications are still difficult with some of the hardest-hit towns yet to be reached by land. 

Haiti (10 October)

  • News reports say nearly 900 people are known to have been killed, with up to 90% of some areas having been destroyed.
  • 2.1 million people have been affected
  • 1,410,907 people are in need humanitarian assistance (12.9% of the population of the country
  • 336 deaths (official data available at noon on 8 October)
  • Partial assessment of damages indicates more than 200,000 houses were severely affected

Cuba (10 October)

  • More than 33,000 houses in the worst affected municipalities of Guantanamo Province severely damaged
  • Early reports estimate 90 per cent destruction of housing in Baracoa and Maisí municipalities directly affecting some 96,000 people.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

What are the immediate, and potential long-term needs?

Immediate needs include food and clean water, as well as non-food items which may have been lost or damaged, or required to treat injuries, etc. In the medium and longer term, many people have lost their homes, livestock and crops, while infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and other public service buildings have been damaged.

What is the situation for people with disabilities?

In any emergency or disaster, people who live with some form of disability are among those most-affected. Reasons for this include inaccessibility of warning messages and emergency shelters, loss and damage of assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, glasses, hearing aids…), disruption of support networks and lack of access to basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare services).
At the same time, disaster situations can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective medical services.

It was reported that during the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami the mortality rate among persons with disability was twice that of the rest of the population.

How does CBM work in Haiti and Cuba?

CBM has been actively working towards improving the quality of life of people with a disability in Haiti for more than 30 years. In Haiti, CBM has a Country Coordination Office with an active team that includes local experts in disability inclusion, inclusive education, disability mainstreaming, advocacy, community based rehabilitation, mental health, accessibility and disaster risk reduction.

CBM commenced operations in Cuba in 1997. We are developing four projects in the country, implemented with public institutions in coordination with the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC).

How have CBM and partners been affected?

CBM has four partners who work in the affected area in Haiti. We are currently communicating with these partners, verifying their situation and planning response.

In Cuba, the CBM partner has been involved in the preparedness phase and evacuation and is currently doing assessment and identifying needs.

What is CBM doing to respond?

CBM will respond to best ensure that persons with disabilities (including older people and other more at-risk people) and their families can access mainstream relief and recovery services and, simultaneously, that any specific needs are met.

Response activities have started through identification of persons with disabilities and setting up a database for referral. Partners in Haiti have initiated a coordination mechanism and are ready once it will be possible to access the affected area to start activities.

CBM is still assessing the situation but detailed response strategy is likely to address:

  • Immediate needs - Water, food, clothing, towels, sheets, mattress
  • Short term needs - Transitional shelters
  • Medium term needs - Installation of roof, reconstruction of houses washed away, revitalisation of small shops and gardens, schools
  • Long term needs - Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and accessibility initiatives that will build resilience for everyone

How can you help?

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What are the immediate, and potential long-term needs?

Hurricane Matthew

CBM and partners respond to Hurricane Matthew

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Humanitarian Action

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response

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