Six months ago today, Hurricane Matthew first made landfall in Haiti. Both the longevity of the hurricane and the destruction it left behind were notable. More than 6,500 of our project families were affected by the event.
In the community of Favette, the vast majority of homes were badly damaged or destroyed. Heifer farmer Beauvais Lemorin said the hurricane lasted three days there.
“It started on Monday at about 10 p.m.,” he said. By midnight, his house had been so badly damaged that he and his wife and six children had to go outside. They huddled on the front porch, which was no longer protected by a sheet metal roof. Lemorin gathered the family’s two goats to keep them safe, and a couple of neighbors joined them as well, making 11 people and two animals squeezed into a tight but uncovered space as the rain poured down.
“We stayed there until Wednesday,” Lemorin said, “but we couldn’t stay there anymore because there was too much rain and the roof was gone. So we stayed under a fallen tree, which gave better protection.
“After the hurricane, we had nothing.”
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Heifer Haiti distributed aid in the form of ready-to-eat food kits, sanitary kits, hot meals for people in shelters, and the treatment of livestock.
For the long term, Heifer Haiti is helping farmers like Lemorin find sustainable ways to earn a living through agriculture and livestock, as well as helping create strong community organizations and cooperatives, and connecting farmers to larger markets.
“Step by step, Heifer can change our life,” Lemorin said.