“The effect of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti is catastrophic,” said U.S. Ambassador Peter Mulrean. And the United States is working closely with the Haitian government to provide vital recovery assistance.
Before hurricane season, USAID pre-positioned emergency supplies at warehouses across Haiti that we are now distributing to communities affected by the storm. Additional humanitarian relief supplies from the United States reached Haiti on October 8 with the arrival of a series of cargo plane deliveries over five days, carrying more than 480 metric tons of supplies to help an estimated 100,000 people.
“The United States is deeply saddened by the number of fatalities,” said Ambassador Mulrean. “I would like to stress the important role that the Government of Haiti played to ensure that the number of casualties was not higher. Its warnings and communication efforts urging people to evacuate to safer areas, and its provision of shelters saved many lives. Nevertheless, 1.5 million people have reportedly been affected by the hurricane and 350,000 are in need of immediate assistance. Our general assessment is that priorities for immediate assistance are food, water and sanitation, emergency shelter, and critical health care for communities, particularly in the regions of Grand’Anse and Sud.”
A fifty-member Disaster Assistance Response Team, led by Tim Callaghan from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, is in Haiti to coordinate U.S. disaster relief efforts with Haitian authorities. At the request of USAID, the US Department of Defense has been delivering critical supplies and humanitarian personnel to areas cut off by the storm through Joint Task Force Matthew. By leveraging forward-deployed forces already in the region, the U.S. military was able to rapidly assist the Government of Haiti in responding to this crisis, ensuring life-saving humanitarian assistance reached those in need during the critical first days of the relief effort. This week, as roads along key corridors in Haiti’s southwestern peninsula improve and international humanitarian workers bolster their field operations, Joint Task Force-Matthew—at the direction of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team—began to wind down its operation in Haiti.
“The Government of Haiti is leading the humanitarian response effort,” said Ambassador Mulrean, “and the United States is committed to supporting Haiti’s plan, and we are working in full coordination with the Department of Civil Protection. Our two countries are partners and share a long and deep friendship. The efforts of the United States today and in the coming weeks and months are a natural manifestation of that friendship.”