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Jeremie, in remote southwestern Haiti, was devastated by the Category 4 hurricane and left inaccessible by road. More than 60,000 homes were destroyed, and the main hospital was severely damaged. Schools are being used as shelters for thousands of displaced families.
UNICEF USA’s Michelle Marion arrived in Jeremie on Saturday, where she spoke with survivors, including seven-year-old Louisniva. Her account of what she witnessed in Jeremie:
Coming in on moto from the airport, we dodged trees that used to line the airport road. The road was strewn with them, and the gaps where they used to stand revealed houses torn apart, missing walls and roof tops. We passed a school or a church — we coudn't be sure — reduced to timber.
Close to town I asked where I could find the people most affected by the hurricane. Everyone I asked said ‘just walk in any direction, everyone has been affected.'
I walked past a downed coconut tree and found a grandmother, with tears in her eyes, sitting in a doorway of a small cement home. She raised her arms to me saying, "my child, Jeremie is finished."
Then I met a girl, Louisniva, seven years old. She had almost died in the storm. She was worried about her school — it was destroyed — and seeing her friends again. There are so many children like her in Jeremie. They all need our help.
The worst storm to hit Haiti in a decade has left widespread destruction across the country. More than 4 million children have been affected by the storm. Emergencies supplies are reaching families, and UNICEF continues to scale up its response to meet the immediate needs of children, but more help is desperately needed.
UNICEF has been working in Haiti to provide a brighter future to the country's children since 1949.