Beaumont Students building a future for children in Haiti
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image/svg+xml

Status

Ongoing

Started

Dezember 2014

Members

30

Country

Haiti

Place

Beaumont

image/svg+xml
image/svg+xml

Status

Ongoing

Started

Dezember 2014

Members

30

Country

Haiti

Place

Beaumont

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew

On the 4th October 2016 Hurricane “Matthew” hit Haiti with speeds of up to 220km/h. Large parts of the country were destroyed. The hurricane centered around our project location Beaumont and was thus hit particularly hard. Over 100 villagers died and many more were injured. Nearly all corrugated iron roofs were blown away. A lot of the houses and huts were comletely destroyed. Particularly the villages in the mountains around Beaumont were affected. The storm resulted in their houses being uninhabitable. Thousands became homeless. Some were able to find shelter in one of the 20 homeless shelters. These were mainly government facilities like churches or schools that were not destroyed by the storm. Critical hygienic circumstances resulted, due to the large number of asylum seekers. Many people lost nearly everything they had. Whether clothes, blankets, water, food, medicine, light, everything was scarce. Also the vegetation sustained enormous damages. Almost every tree was uprooted and big parts of the agriculture was depleted. About half of the animals did not survive. Consequently most people lost their entire livelihood.

After the storm

Our partner Pwojé men kontre acted immediately. They provided the people with food right after the hurricane. The chair of the association, Dr. Anke Brügmann, tended to the urgently needed medical care, since there was no other medical help in the community. The small hospital in Beaumont and also the ones in the nearby cities were destroyed. Our assembly hall – built 2015 and spring 2016 – remained unscathed. After the storm it was used as an ambulant infirmary and as a shelter for some orphans and for in-patients. One week after the natural disaster, the international relief supplies arrived in Beaumont. Together Pwojé men kontre and „Protection civile“ (volunteers of the civil security) organised the distribution in the region for about 42.000 people. In addition, they supplemented the insufficient aid supplies with food, medicines and other relief supplies.

The devastation of the new premises differed greatly from the devastation of the already existing and still used premises of Pwojè men kontre. There, the buildings of the school and orphanage were immensely damaged. Almost all roofs were blown away by the storm. The orphans were brought to safety, fortunately none of them were hurt. The planned step by step transition from the old premises to the new one is no longer feasible in the way it was planned. We are now working on a faster reconstruction.

You can find a more detailed description of the incident and our experiences on site during the hurricane here or on our blog. You can read here what our partner organisation was able to accomplish after our departure.

The Threat of Natural Disasters in Haiti

Again and again Haiti suffers from severe and powerful natural disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, torrential rainfall and floods. Often these disasters kill and injure people and destroy their homes and harvest. Being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is especially prone to the aftermath of such catastrophes. Most people cannot afford robust and earthquake-proof houses. Due to the lack of industry, agriculture serves as a main source of livelihood for a large part of Haitis population. In order to earn their living, many have to live in places that are particularly exposed to natural forces.

The most severe earthquake in the history of North- and South America claimed 300.000 deaths in 2010, approximately a third of Haiti’s population was affected. A cholera epidemic and a hurricane in the same year exacerbated the situation in the country even more. To this day, further cyclones have occured, such as the recent Hurricane Matthew.

We are convinced that in such situtations emergency aid is highly important, however not a lasting and final solution for the always recurring natural distasters. Therefore, we take particular interest in building hurricane- and earthquake-proof. We are fortunate to say that our buildings remained almost unscathed from the most recent storm. Apart from our main goal, to build a safe school and orphanage, we also take a particular interest in sharing our knowledge in construction to the population of Beaumont. This is achieved by working hand in hand with Haitians on our newest buildings.