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Helping Haiti's communities to recover

Josianne lost her house after Hurricane Matthew hit her community in Haiti. Plan International gave her and her family kits with the support of Irish Aid. These kits helped her to cook for for her children and to start again after losing her house.

Josianne, 31, lives just a few metres from the coastline with her husband and four children in Duvineau, a community in the municipality of Les Irois in the Grand’Anse Department of Haiti. Along with many of the 23,000 inhabitants of this municipality, she was at home with her family when Hurricane Matthew hit.

"The roof of our house was one of the first to be carried away by the wind," recalls Josianne, who fled her home to shelter with a friend whose house seemed less vulnerable.

"My two daughters, 8 and 13 years old, followed us as best they could while the 3-year-old was in the hands of his father and I struggled against the wind with our 9-month-old son," she says.

Her friend's house had to be abandoned too under the threat of Matthew. They finally found refuge at the Duvineau Cultural Center, the only building in the community that was left undamaged by the hurricane.

Overcrowding made space unbearable, according to Josianne. "We stood one against the other in a packed room. The children were crying endlessly." she remembers. "We were all wondering when the storm was going to end".

Nearly 3,600 houses were destroyed in Les Irois, according to the rapid need assessment conducted jointly by civil protection authority.

Without the blankets we received, I do not know how we would have coped with the cold that followed the hurricane

In addition to having homes damaged or destroyed, many people have also lost their livelihoods states a situation report by the United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair.

This has left an enormous gap in the people’s ability to meet their basic, day-to-day necessities, such as medication, food, water, hygiene, and the ability to reconstruct their destroyed homes.

One of the first actions of Plan International, as part of its response to the hurricane, was to provide families with the means to regain control of their lives. 1310 families in eight Grand’Anse communities received non-food items kits distributed by Plan International thanks to the support of the Irish Aid. In Duvineau, 228 families received non-food items kits.

"These kits contained tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets, dishes, containers, and ropes, among other things," explains Bellot Fontulme, Coordinator of Plan International's Livelihood program in Grand’Anse.

Josianne lost everything during the hurricane. Her house was completely destroyed. While they rebuild it, she and her husband have erected a small temporary shelter using the tarpaulins they received in the kit.

"We could not have found money to buy dishes or utensils to prepare food for our children," says Josianne. "Without the blankets we received, I do not know how we would have coped with the cold that followed the hurricane."