On October 3 and 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti and caused major damage to the country. The infrastructures of many organizations were completely destroyed, including schools, health centres and community centres.
Fortunately, according to Catherine L’Anglais, head of TSF’s Haiti office, “Our project buildings held up well. There was flooding, of course, but the buildings, in particular those whose construction TSF supervised, are intact. In fact, hundreds of people sought shelter there when the storm was at its worst.”
The Maison de l’Avenir Jacqueline Lessard and the Laferté-Roy school in Croix-des-Bouquets, the Les Mains Ouvertes school in Les Cayes, and the Centre mère-enfant Marcelle et Jean Coutu in Vialet all fared very well under Hurricane Matthew’s assault.
Unfortunately, the L’Œuvre St-François-d’Assise orphanage in Île-à-Vache, which was hit hard by the storm, did not bear up so well. The recently built physiotherapy building withstood the hurricane, but other structures were damaged, including roofing and the sanitary block.
TSF quickly deployed its emergency operations in Île-à-Vache; it was the first organization on site. Water, food, sanitary products and household cleaning products started coming in on October 8. Two medical teams were soon on the scene to provide care and help prevent such illnesses as cholera. A third medical team went to the Les Mains Ouvertes school in Les Cayes. Other teams were also on hand to assess the damage and the needs for all TSF projects.
Close to four months have passed since Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, and work is still under way to repair the damage, especially in Île-à-Vache. Other organizations that were hard hit are also turning to TSF for help, including the Fondation Paradis des Indiens in Abricots, which asked TSF to conduct engineering studies to rebuild 11 of its schools that were completely destroyed.
Many people, businesses and foundations were extremely generous immediately after the hurricane, which made is possible for TSF to effectively respond to the emergency. The Banks family of Toronto launched a fundraising campaign within its network and raised close to $55,000 to help the Île-à-Vache orphanage. The Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation also offered their support, as Haiti is a top priority for them.