Enivens wants a new home - life in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Enivens, age 10, is sitting on the remaining blocks of his house

By Santiago Mosquera, World Vision Haiti

It’s been two days since Hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti when I drive into the small town near Port Au Prince, Haiti's capital. With narrow and crowded streets, normally it’s full of men and women selling and exchanging their produce. Stalls and shops piled with onions, lettuces, and beans fill the streets.

Like much of this part of the country, it was very affected by Hurricane Matthew. Over 625 homes in this small town have been damaged and 110 families have been evacuated and are sleeping in temporary shelters at schools, churches and even voodoo centres. Most devastating to a town that depends largely on agriculture for its lifeblood, an estimated 2,400 cattle were carried away by the storm.

As I drive up the hill towards the town, the rural red dirt and gravel roads gradually give way to small houses made with wooden beams, concrete blocks and zinc roofs.

It is here that I met 10-year-old Enivens. As I walked up, he was playing with other children from the neighbourhood while his father Enock spoke to members of the Civil Protection authorities, and I asked Enivens how the hurricane had affected him.

"Hurricane Matthew blew away my home. It has killed pigs and other animals. It also destroyed my grandfather's house. It has ravaged the gardens. It has destroyed books and my toys." said Enivens, sitting in what remains of his home.

Enock, meanwhile, is keeping an eye out for his wife Nathalie, and their daughters, Taninia, 18 and Bilandie, 15. They’ve followed the paths strewn with the detritus of the storm down to the river, carrying buckets on their heads to fetch water. They know the water isn’t safe to drink, but due to the hurricane’s damage they cannot go to town to get water from tanks. Given previous cholera outbreaks in Haiti, the lack of clean water available now is alarming.

"For now, we have a place to sleep but we have lost all,” Enock tells me. “I hope people can help us, my children need a safe place to live.”

I’ve travelled to town with my colleague Rolande Pierre, who’s the Head of Child Survival for World Vision Haiti. Thankfully, he’s working on organising an aid distribution to Enivens and his family, as well as the others in their community now staying in shelters. Among the items due to be handed out are hygiene kits, which will hopefully keep the threat of cholera and other diseases at bay. But as our colleagues visiting communities further to the South have discovered, the damage is extensive, and for families like Enivens it will take a long time to regain everything they’ve lost in this hurricane.

Within hours after Hurricane Matthew’s wind and rain subsided on Tuesday, World Vision staff in Haiti began distributing blankets, toiletries, and bottled water to Port-au-Prince families displaced by the storm. World Vision had pre-positioned relief supplies such as tarps, blankets, water containers, and hygiene kits to quickly assist impacted families. We’re now moving to reach 15,000 families with basic supplies and assessing the damage to determine the long-term response that’s needed. You can donate to our Haiti Hurricane Appeal here >>

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