Canada’s response to Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, affecting over 1.24 million people in Haiti alone. Haiti was the hardest-hit country and requires attention in at least 11 communities around the Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud areas, where there has been coastal flooding.

Humanitarian response – $9.94 million

The Government of Canada set aside an initial humanitarian response of up to $4.58 million for those in Haiti and other countries in the region affected by Hurricane Matthew. On October 14, 2016, Canada allocated an additional $2 million, and on November 18, 2016, another $2.65 million. An additional $710,000 was provided in December 2016 to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, bringing Canada’s total contribution to $9.94 million. Assistance provided includes:

For Haiti:

  • $300,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help meet health, water, sanitation and shelter needs of 50,000 people affected by the hurricane
  • $280,000 via the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) to Save the Children Canada, who will provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, hygiene kits and child friendly spaces for up to 5,800 people in the communes of Camp Perrin and Beaumon in the Departments of South and Grand’Anse, Haiti
  • $400,000 to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) who serves as the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. PAHO will assist in scaling up their operation in Haiti, which currently includes rapid response emergency health units, and the provision of medical personnel, essential medication and vaccines, as well as much needed medical supplies. Canada’s contribution will also assist PAHO with treating and containing the reported cholera outbreak in Haiti, which will likely be exacerbated by the Hurricane.
  • $900,000 to UNICEF to assist in the delivery of water and sanitation services which will be critical in containing outbreaks such as cholera. Additionally, funding will provide food assistance nutrition inputs and protection services to the most vulnerable populations, with a specific emphasis on women and children.
  • $1,000,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) to assist in the provision of food rations to the most vulnerable, including women and children, cash assistance to allow beneficiaries to meet their own needs, and the delivery and coordination of food assistance to the heavily impacted regions of Haiti which remain isolated or hard to reach.
  • $1,200,000 to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to assist in the establishment and management of temporary shelter for displaced people, the distribution of essential items such as tarps, shelter kits, hygiene kits, and water treatment supplies and the coordination of relief stocks entering the country.
  •  $600,000 to Médecins du Monde, to assist with medical care through health centres and treating cases of cholera and other water- and vector-borne diseases. This NGO will also provide psychosocial support and treatment for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
  •  $500,000 to Oxfam-Québec, to improve access to potable water and provide clean water where needed. It will also provide sanitation and waste-management services and take measures to reduce the risk of gender-based violence.
  •  $400,000 to Action Against Hunger Canada, to address sanitation needs by clearing stagnant water in flooded areas, and distribute household water-treatment materials. It will also conduct public health and hygiene awareness campaigns.
  •  $500,000 to Centre d’Étude et de Coopération Internationale, to provide small-scale cash grants to displaced women who lost their livelihoods, and seeds and tool kits to 3,000 farmers whose crops and farming materials were lost in the hurricane and resulting flooding.
  • $1,600,000 to the World Food Programme to respond to emergency food needs as a result of Hurricane Matthew, as well as the drought caused by El Niño in Haiti. Activities will include the provision of general food distribution, food- or cash-for-work programs and cash assistance to the most vulnerable families.
  • $400,000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s work in Haiti to provide emergency agricultural support and early recovery efforts. This will include the provision of immediate crop, livestock and fisheries support to hurricane-affected vulnerable households. Program activities will protect the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, such as subsistence farmers and pastoralists.
  • $650,000 to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to provide three months of food assistance for more than 8,000 people in need of assistance. This initiative is being carried out in partnership with World Renew Canada and the Foundation for International Development Assistance through productive cooperatives Haiti.
  • $500,000 to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to provide unconditional food assistance and food-for-work for up to 7,200 people in need of assistance. This initiative is being carried out in partnership with Presbyterian World Service & Development and the Fondation pour le développement économique et social.
  • $210,000 to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to provide unconditional food assistance and food-for-work for up to 3,250 people in need of assistance. This initiative is being carried out in partnership with Primates World Relief and Development, Lutheran World Federation and Fondation de la nouvelle Grand’Anse.

For Cuba:

  • $200,000 via the CHAF to Oxfam Canada, who will provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, basic shelter, including tarps, and other non-food items for up to 4,800 people in the municipality of Baracoa, Guantanamo province, Cuba.
  • $300,000 to the World Food Programme for the operation that will transport and distribute food assistance to 180,000 people in the most affected regions of Guantanamo and Holguin provinces.

The Government of Haiti has received an insurance payout as a result of hurricane Matthew of more than US$23 million from the CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility). These funds are helping rehabilitate roads, assist with the winter sowing season and reduce environmental and economic vulnerabilities of at-risk communities. Global Affairs Canada provided funding to the World Bank multi-donor trust fund to provide catastrophe risk insurance in central America and Caribbean, formerly known as CCRIF.

Canada’s humanitarian assistance will go toward immediate, life-saving needs, such as water and sanitation, food, shelter and basic health services, and will be delivered through experienced humanitarian partners.

Canada contributes financially to UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organizations to quickly get humanitarian aid to where it is needed.

Working with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC), Global Affairs Canada dispatched relief supplies from warehouses in Mississauga Ontario to support emergency relief operations in Haiti. These supplies arrived in Haiti on October 10, 2016 and are being distributed by the Haitian Red Cross Society, to help meet the immediate needs of up to 2,000 families affected by the hurricane. The relief supplies include tarpaulins and shelter toolkits to help provide temporary shelter, basic household items such as kitchen sets and hygiene kits (which include items such as soap and toothbrushes), as well as jerry cans and buckets to safely transport clean water.

Canada is also supporting the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination unit teams in Jamaica and Haiti, who are still assessing the situation and assisting local authorities.

Deployment of Canadian Red Cross Mobile Health Clinic

With funding from Global Affairs Canada, the CRC is deploying a mobile health clinic to support relief efforts in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage to local health system infrastructure in certain areas of the country. Severe flooding and limited access to clean drinking water have heightened the risk of water borne diseases such as cholera. In this context, CRC’s mobile health clinic is being dispatched based on needs identified by the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, the Red Cross, and other national and international health organizations responding to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The mobile health clinic will support the Haitian Red Cross and the Ministry of Health in the ongoing care of patients, and in outreach activities in remote affected areas. A range of basic health services will be provided including first aid, treatment of cholera and malaria, paediatric care, and reproductive and maternal health services.

Once the mission is completed, equipment will be donated to the Haitian Red Cross and local health authorities for their use in future disaster responses. Prior to the handover of equipment, the Haitian Red Cross will also receive training to help ensure that it can carry on the functioning of the services independently.

Deployment of Canadian Disaster Assessment Team

On October 6, 2016, the Government of Canada deployed the Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT) to Haiti to complete an in-depth assessment of the humanitarian needs on the ground. This included meeting with local and international representatives, observing the affected areas, and recommending how the Government of Canada could best support the country’s humanitarian needs following Hurricane Matthew. The CDAT’s work promotes a response that is coordinated, evidence-based and tailored to the affected nation. The CDAT returned to Canada on October 11, 2016, after providing its recommendations to the Government of Canada.

The CDAT concluded that the most effective means of Canadian assistance is through continued financial and in-kind contributions distributed to trusted humanitarian partners already on the ground in Haiti. The CDAT did not recommend deployment of the Government of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) as the civilian and international military response is already effectively responding to identified needs.

Assistance for Canadians

Contact information

Canadian citizens in the affected areas requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the closest Canadian office serving their destination or call the department’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1 613 996 8885 (collect calls are accepted where available). An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.

In Canada, friends or relatives with information about a Canadian citizen in the affected areas requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling +1 613 996 8885 or +1 800 387 3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

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