The night of October 4, 2016 was the most frightening of little Mamande’s young life. Mamande, three-years-old, huddled inside her home in Les Cayes, Haiti all night with her mom and dad as the torrential winds and rain of Hurricane Matthew tore the roof of their home. The poor family couldn’t afford to rebuild their little house and had to relocate to another part of the city. Ten months later, little Mamande still has nightmares about that terrifying night and looks to cuddle up in an adult’s arms whenever it rains.
Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, sustained wind speeds up to 140 miles per hour and inflicted major damage in the impoverished country of Haiti. The hurricane wiped out entire villages, crops, and livestock leaving an estimated 1.4 million people, 40% of whom were children, in need of humanitarian assistance. It is estimated the storm killed over 1,600 people and caused $2.8 billion in damages.
We responded immediately with emergency relief by airlifting two shipments of medicines and medical supplies worth $8.9 million dollars to Haiti. The shipments included critical medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics to treat immediate medical emergencies. The shipments also included medicines to treat water-borne diseases, such as typhoid, that are common after natural disasters due to contaminated water sources.
Children were especially affected by the storm. According to UNICEF, more than half a million children were in danger of disease, hunger, and malnutrition following the hurricane. Mamande was one of them. She contracted typhoid fever days after the storm.
At first, her mother, Rose Marie, thought Mamande just had a cold, but when she didn’t get better she started to worry. Rose Marie’s family is extremely poor. They survive off her husband’s wages as a construction worker, and she could not afford to take her daughter to any of the nearby health clinics or pharmacies. When Mamande’s condition worsened, Rose Marie walked with her across town to Hope for Haiti’s free clinic, IRT’s on-site partner organization.
The doctor at the clinic diagnosed Mamande with typhoid fever and prescribed medications donated by IRT. After a month and five follow up visits to the clinic, Mamande was cured!
Rose Marie says Mamande is looking forward to starting kindergarten soon. She loves to run and play and is very inquisitive, constantly asking her mother questions about the world around her. After many visits to the clinic, Mamande says she now wants to be a nurse when she grows up. She loves their uniforms!
International Relief Teams has 29 years of experience assisting victims of disasters, both nationally and internationally. During our history, we have delivered more than $343 million in humanitarian aid to those in desperate need. International Relief Teams has delivered relief services in Haiti since 2008, providing shelter, food, and medical supplies. Following the devastating 2010 earthquake, we sent $1.3 million in medicines and medical supplies, provided food for over 100,000 people, supplied temporary and permanent shelters, and provided water purification systems for years after the earthquake to help survivors in the recovery process.