Hurricane Matthew - Renee's story

Renee's house was damaged by Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on 4th Oct 2016. CBM is responding to ensure that affected communities - including persons with disabilities - recover from their losses.

Living alone

Before losing his sight at the age of 50 to glaucoma, Renee was a very hard-working farmer, who travelled around Haiti and even at times to the Dominican Republic. Not having any close family members around, Renee was mainly living alone, with neighbours checking on him every so often. The 66-year old was home alone, just outside Torbeck, Haiti, when Hurricane Matthew struck, packing category 4 winds and rain. Renee was aware that a hurricane was coming, but he didn’t know much else. “It just came and destroyed everything,” he says.


Didn't evacuate

His neighbours came to evacuate him, but he didn’t leave, for he didn’t want to leave the only thing that was familiar to him. Then the roof flew off and the house started to crumble around him. His neighbours came back and forced him to leave at that point. Although Renee didn’t suffer any physical injuries, he was emotionally distraught, as he thought he was going to die that day.

Nonetheless, Renee is thankful to be alive. But he says he has nothing left and is living at the mercy of his neighbours. He feels lost without his home and his belongings that he’s grown accustomed to since losing his sight 16 years ago. Renee would like someone to help him get some clothes and shoes to go to church, as well as some food to eat.

Inclusive response

As part of its emergency response CBM is developing a database of persons with disabilities, recording their situation before and after the hurricane and identifying their needs before referring them to appropriate service providers. By December, 1700 people - including Renee - had been interviewed, and the process of identifying services and facilitating referrals is commencing.

Hurricane Matthew - After three months

CBM response is ensuring that persons with disabilities and other more at-risk community members are included

Read more