Hurricane Matthew occurred on Monday October 3 and Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Hurricane devastated eight departments in Haiti especially the departments in the South, Grand’ Anse and Nip. According to the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the Hurricane caused 124.8 billion Haitian Goud (HDG), which is over $1 billion (US Dollars/USD) in damages. Hurricane Matthew destroyed 20% of the agriculture sector in those departments and left over 175,000 homeless. On account of this devastation and after a fact finding visit to document the disaster, the Lambi Fund of Haiti with the support of individual donors and various foundations, took the initiative to provide emergency services to its various partners. Lambi Fund has a history of partnership with the identified community organizations who suffered damage from Matthew. Lambi supported projects located in 11 of the 18 communes in the South that saw huge damage. To urgently respond to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, Lambi Fund started a three phase response. The first two phases were completed by December 2016 and evaluated in May 2017. The third phase which is the rehabilitation of projects continues at this moment and will be evaluated once completed. The following is a detailed report of the two phases and how lives were saved due to our supporters’ generosity.
FIRST PHASE- EMERGENCY RESPONSE
The first phase, emergency response, began days after Hurricane Matthew and ended in November. During that month, Lambi provided its partners cash assistance in the amount of 4,784,000 (HDG) which is over $76,000 USD. Twenty-six (26) organizations in four departments received these funds to help members meet their immediate needs. Over 1646 organization members and their families received between 1,000 to 6,000 (HDG) estimated at $20-$100 USD in emergency funds. These funds were used for immediate needs that included securing food and water for members and their families, repairing or rebuilding their houses, replanting food gardens, and re-establishing commerce. Below are breakdowns of different activities undertaken by Lambi partners:
Securing Food and water for members and their Families- 1150 families, about 70% of members within the 26 organizations received monetary support to buy food and water for themselves and their families. When the money was distributed, some members used all the money to feed themselves, however most members used half of the money to feed themselves, their family and neighbors.
Repairing/ rebuilding homes- About 90% of roofs and houses in the Hurricane’s path flew off or were damaged. Lambi provided monetary assistance to members and their families to rebuild their homes. About 5% of members, about 82 families were able to buy corrugated metal (tin) to patch up their roofs.
Replanting food gardens- Hurricane Matthew caused an environmental disaster that destroyed 20% of the agriculture sector in the south. To assist in food security and prevent potential starvation, 14% which is about 230 individual members received funds from Lambi to begin replanting their food gardens. The money allowed members to buy seeds such as beans, maize, and peanuts to plant and to sell later so as to improve their livelihoods.
Unfortunately, due to climactic changes that occurred after Hurricane Matthew, many of the plants died due to a drought or excessive rain. For example, in the Tobek, Kavayon, and Okay sectors, farmers saw their plants die because of the drought. Only places like Kavayon were plants able to thrive because of consistent rainfall that did not wash away the plants.
Re-establishing commerce- Originally, Lambi distributed monetary assistance to help members attain food and water for themselves and their families. However, about 11% of the recipients (about 181 individuals) used this assistance to not only secure food but to create an income for the household. Many members used the money to buy food such as rice and oil to feed their family but also to sell in markets. Families (specifically women) were able to use the monetary aid to feed their household and create revenue by buying and re-selling goods. Men also participated in this resilient way of thinking by buying flour and water to bake bread to sell in markets and to feed their family. Other members went further and cooperated with one another and bought an animal and resold it together. The profit from selling the animal was divided evenly among everyone who pitched in to buy it. These are just a couple of examples in which Lambi’s members continued to find creative ways to survive during this time of hardship. Their ingenuity also aided family members and neighbors to survive as well.
Aside from the different ways described above in which members used the aid to secure their livelihoods, an unforeseen result was the strengthening of the different partner organizations. This unfortunate event caused many members to work as a team and to cooperate to survive. These organizations also helped their fellow non-member neighbors. The result of this help and this show of cooperation caused an increase in membership months after the hurricane.
Unfortunately, there were notable setbacks due to the climate change post-Matthew. In some areas where farmers began to replant their gardens, excessive rain or drought that lasted for weeks either washed away the plants or killed them off. This unpredictable situation made re-planting goods a challenge and also shaped Lambi’s second recovery phase.
Overall, through the support of foundations and individual donors, the Lambi Fund of Haiti was able to help secure food, shelter, and assist in the reestablishment of livelihoods in the southern departments. Through evaluation, the first phase of Lambi’s Hurricane Matthew emergency response was a success to meet urgent needs of the different communities.
SECOND PHASE- RESUMING PLANTING
Once the first phase was complete, because of the loss of gardens, Lambi decided to begin working on the second phase of the emergency response: Resume Planting. This phase began in November 2016 and was completed in December 2016. The objective of phase two was to prevent starvation and aid in food security by ensuring the re-establishment of food gardens that were destroyed during Hurricane Matthew.
This phase was considered urgent on account that Lambi had provided 14% or 230 individual partners with monetary support during the first phase to re-establish and re-plant their gardens. The support allowed members to buy seeds for their garden. Unfortunately, those plants that were planted right after Hurricane Matthew either were watched away or dried up because of irregular weather patterns post-Matthew. After the hurricane, some parts of the south saw irregular rainfall which caused inundation, while other parts faced a drought. This is all to say that these developments transformed an already urgent situation into a dire one. The following is a detailed report of phase two of Lambi’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.
The second response assisted 1673 individual planters, individual members of 27 of Lambi’s partner organizations located in two departments (South and Nip). Within those departments, twelve regions were beneficiaries: Okay, Kavayon, Tobèk, Manich, Kanperin, Lazil, Aken, Chantal, Pòsali, Senjan, Plezans, Anikè. Phase two began in November and was completed December 2016 just in time for the rainy season.
During those two months, Lambi provided monetary assistance in the amount of 10,000,000 (HDG) which is over $158,000 USD to 27 organizations to re-establish their food gardens. Over 1,859 organization members and their families received between 2,500 to 7,500 HDG estimated at $40-$120 USD in funds. These funds were used to plant gardens, re-establish commerce, buy corrugated metal (tin) to repair their roofs, and to clear debris from water canals to allow water to reach farmers’ crops. Below are breakdowns of the different activities undertaken by Lambi’s partners:
Replanting food gardens- As stated before, Hurricane Matthew caused an environmental disaster that destroyed 20% of the agriculture sector in the south. To assist in food security and prevent potential starvation, 90% which is about 1,673 individual members received funds from Lambi to begin planting in to benefit from the December 2016 rainy season. The money allowed members and their families to buy products to prepare their land and to buy seeds such as beans, maize, and peanuts to plant and to sell later. Through coordination and kombit, (togetherness) the members were able to work on each other’s land to prepare the land for the rainy season. Fortunately, through teamwork and the sense of urgency the farmers were able to prepared and plant on their land right to benefit from the rain. This improved food security and ensured revenue for households.
Re-establishing commerce- Originally, Lambi distributed monetary assistance to help members re-plant their gardens. However, about 6% of the recipients (about 112 individuals) used this assistance to create an income for the household by selling food, household goods, and other sell-able items. The reason for this is because some farmers did not have enough land to gain a sizable yield to see a profit in agriculture. Instead of planting food that would not provide household revenue, this small number of members decided to use the monetary aid meant for planting to sell goods at market, ensuring that they could feed their families.
Repairing/ rebuilding homes- As previously state, about 90% of roofs in the hurricane’s path flew off or were damaged. About 4% (74 individuals) used a portion of the monetary aid for planting to re-build their houses. Before this aid arrived, those 74 individuals and their families were living under tents or in caves. Those individuals decided that securing a home was more important than beginning the planting process. With this thinking, those members decided to use a portion of the money to buy tin to put a roof over their homes. In some cases where the house blew away, the money was used to buy bricks and cement to begin construction. Although these individuals used a portion of the funds to re-build their homes, they were still able to plant crops to benefit from the rainy season.
Cleaning/ Repairing Water Canals- Hurricane Matthew left an abundant amount of damage including the damage and/or destruction of irrigation systems. Many water canals were either clogged from debris or in some cases destroyed. The irrigation systems are vital to ensure that farmer’s crops receive proper water in case of drought. With this in mind, 11 organizations out of the 27 each receive 22,500 (HDG) estimated at $360 USD from Lambi Fund to clean and/or repair canals. This money allowed the organization members to come together in Kombit to buy equipment to clear or fix the canals and to feed the members that participated in the week long cleanups. By the end of this initiative, 9, 350 meters in length worth of canals was either re-built or cleared of debris to allow passage of water to crops. These different canals not only benefited each member but it also benefited the entire community.
Aside from the different ways described above in which members used the aid to secure their livelihoods, an unforeseen result was the strengthening of the partner organizations. This unfortunate event caused many members to work cooperatively to survive. This sense of cooperation was especially seen between the male and female members of the organization. Women make up about 35% of the 27 organizations that received assistance. In each committee that distributed the money within the organization, women played vital leadership roles. They also worked side by side with their male counterparts to plant crops and clear debris from water canals.
Overall, the two phases of response described above allowed many members to begin to rebuild their lives. Upon evaluation and taking random samples, Lambi determined that all organizations were transparent and fair in the monetary distributions which resulted in the quick responses by members to resolve their problems. However, there is a lot more work to be done. Work such as rehabilitation of projects that began before Hurricane Matthew. Many of the projects that Lambi began in solidarity with those organizations were either damaged or destroyed. Now must be the time to rehabilitate these projects so as to ensure continued success in development. The Lambi Fund’s ultimate goal and mission remains to support these resilient organizations to achieve self-sufficiency by improving their livelihoods.