UNDP ready to support Haiti to recover from devastating Hurricane Matthew

Oct 5, 2016

A woman crosses a muddy street in downtown Port-au-Prince after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on 4 October 2016, bringing heavy rains and winds. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

UNDP Country Director Yvonne Helle is on the ground in Haiti and available for interviews. To arrange an interview please contact Adam Cathro in New York on +1 917 915 9725 or at adam.cathro@undp.org

Port-au-Prince, 5 October, 2016 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has deployed staff to support the national system for disaster management and is preparing to ship in needed supplies in support of the people and government of Haiti as they begin the recovery from the devastating impact of the most powerful hurricane to hit the country in more than 50 years.

Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday. While the full scale of the storm is not yet known, at least 10,000 people are in shelters, cities are flooded and many houses have been destroyed or lost their roofs. Rivers are choked with debris and emergency teams have difficulties reaching communities cut off by mudslides and washed-out bridges.

“The south of the country has borne the brunt of the storm and is currently cut off. We obviously fear that there will be great devastation there,” said UNDP Country Director in Haiti, Yvonne Helle. “Whatever the final outcome, the people of Haiti will need the international community’s solidarity to recover their dignity and their livelihoods.”

She noted: “Before the earthquake of 2010, there was little disaster risk reduction capacity in Haiti. Since then, UNDP with its partners has worked hard to support the country as it built up it knowledge of disaster risks and its resilience to crises like Hurricane Matthew.”

“Now we must work to support the government’s efforts to recover from this devastating storm,”  added.

“UNDP has worked in Haiti for more than 40 years. We stand ready to help in the short term and will be in Haiti for the long-term to help with crisis response, recovery and the return to the path of development, drawing on our vast experience in crisis situations,” said Ms Helle.

UNDP is also raising funds to support the recovery effort in Haiti. The public can make donations here: bit.ly/supportundphaiti.

Haiti was extremely vulnerable even before the hurricane made its landfall: With a GDP per capita of US$846 and an unemployment rate of 40 per cent, Haiti is among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 163 out of 187 countries in UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI). 59 per cent of Haitians live below the poverty line of US$2.42 per day, and 24 per cent under the extreme poverty line of $1.23 per day.

One million Haitians already live in a state of acute food insecurity caused by an ongoing drought since 2013. This number is most likely going to increase with the impact of Hurricane Matthew on the agricultural sector. 

The country is also still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people, displaced 1.5 million and destroyed 300,000 buildings. 55,000 people are still displaced and are now among the most vulnerable.

Contact information

In New York: Adam Cathro, adam.cathro@undp.org, +1 917 915 9725

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