“Remember: When disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.”
~ Steven Cyros
Thank you to the folks that have reached out to check in on our communities!
Every year, hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th. After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, C2C worked with our Partner Communities in Petit-Goâve to utilize their knowledge to create our Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative (EPRI). The EPRI adds to their knowledge and provides emergency preparedness training to the Peasant Associations, their Health Workers and partners who act as first responders to natural disasters, seasonal hurricanes and pandemics. Our Mountainside Partner Community is especially vulnerable due to its isolated location. With help from our partners and donors, the community created a plan that includes a structure to store shovels, rain gear, go bags, training materials, care packages and emergency response packets to ensure the community’s readiness during hurricane season and when disasters hit. Every year we see unnecessary deaths and destruction of property, livestock and gardens due to the lack of infrastructure. This is our biggest obstacle. We cannot stop the rain, but with infrastructure, we can direct how and where it flows. After the first big storm at the start of the season, the Mountainside Peasant Association, APHD, conducted an assessment of the damage.
Here are the key developments:
Unfortunately, the region experienced its first torrential rainfall of the season at the beginning of June, causing significant damage in Haïti and our Mountainside Partner Community. Roads were rendered impassable, homes were destroyed and valuable resources were lost. Regrettably, there are reports of missing people. Proper infrastructure and resources would have prevented this situation and emphasizes the urgency of maintaining our Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative (EPRI) and our ongoing efforts to build sustainable infrastructure in partnership with our Partner Communities. Thanks to the continued generosity of our donors, we were able to swiftly allocate the requested funds from the Mountainside Partner Community’s Peasant Association leadership. This allowed them to initiate sanitation clean-up efforts on the roads, ensuring safe passage for students commuting to and from school and enabling community members to travel safely up and down the mountain to access local markets. These continued clean-up efforts and the reinforcement of infrastructure are crucial for daily life to resume. It is also vital to prepare for the rest of hurricane season. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be at least 12 to 17 named storms and five to nine hurricanes this year. It is imperative for us to remain vigilant.
Progress in Building Resilient Infrastructure:
We are pleased to report that the infrastructure projects aimed at making the community more resilient to hurricanes and earthquakes are yielding positive results. Notably, the retaining wall constructed behind the school to protect it from severe rainfall has proven effective. Despite some minor water infiltration, the school building remained undamaged, allowing classes to proceed without interruption. This outcome demonstrates the value of our collective efforts to create disaster-resistant structures within the community.
Cholera Prevention Efforts in Petit-Goave:
We are now concerned about the reemergence of cholera in Haïti. Since my last post, we’ve learned of the tragic loss of three lives in the communities we work with in Petit-Goâve. It is important to reiterate, this disease is preventable. In response, our Partner Communities Peasant Associations have taken proactive measures to safeguard their communities in the mountainside and in town. By conducting informative training sessions, community members have been educated on crucial safety and health practices to prevent the transmission of cholera, like boiling water and hand-washing. Additionally, the Mountainside Peasant Association has strategically installed hand-washing bucket stations equipped with spigots throughout the communities. Furthermore, they have created a public service announcement (PSA) broadcasting cholera prevention information that is regularly broadcasted on the radio and through megaphones from vehicles, reaching not only their own community but also the surrounding isolated areas.
These comprehensive activities are vital in curbing the spread of cholera, which remains a significant concern in Petit-Goâve. We will closely monitor the number of cases and evaluate the impact of the hand-washing stations on community health and safety.
We remain committed to the safety and well-being of the communities we serve, and we extend our gratitude to our generous donors for their continued support. We will provide further updates on the progress of our Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative (EPRI), as well as the long-term sustainability efforts in our Partner Communities.