Haiti's worst storm in a decade has left the country severely battered. More than 4 million children have been affected, with almost 600,000 living in the most devastated areas. More than 175,000 people are homeless. The threat of waterborne diseases is severe.
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NEW YORK (October 4, 2016) – More than 4 million children may be exposed to the damage of Hurricane Matthew, UNICEF said today as the Category 4 storm made landfall on the impoverished Caribbean island.
“This is the worst storm Haiti has seen in decades and the damage will no doubt be significant,” said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “Waterborne diseases are the first threat to children in similar situations - our first priority is to make sure children have enough safe water.”
Cornelia Walther is UNICEF Haiti's Chief of Communication.
Why is Haiti so Vulnerable?
Because of its steep terrain, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to devastating floods. Massive deforestation over decades has left countless hillsides and mountains devoid of the trees that usually hold back water.
For decades, UNICEF has been working in Jamaica to improve the lives of children in four key areas: creating and supporting quality education; protecting children from abuse and violence; providing mental and physicial health services; and preparing for emergencies and natural disasters — such as Hurricane Matthew on the horizon.
*** Update 10/7: Death Toll Rises to 572 ***
More than a week ago, an inter-agency convoy was bombed as it carried aid to blockaded eastern Aleppo, with aid workers killed and UNICEF supplies destroyed. Yet UNICEF continues to do everything possible to bring relief to the people — and especially to the children — living under fire in Syria. This week, we managed to get critical supplies into the town of Madaya as part of another inter-agency convoy.