Three weeks after Hurricane Matthew slammed Haiti’s western coast, emergency relief has yet to reach tens of thousands of people living in remote communities. In the hardest-hit areas, families are facing a fourth consecutive week without food, clean water, or adequate shelter.
Help get much needed assistance to families living in rural areas by supporting Sigora Haiti’s campaign to raise $96K to help 10,000 people in the worst-hit regions.
LETTER FROM THE CEO
It is nearly three weeks after Hurricane Matthew and tens of thousands of people living in remote communities are facing another week without food, a roof over their heads, or clean water to drink.
Sigora Haiti is launching a campaign to raise $96,000 in the next week to provide 10,000 people with the means to permanently repair their homes damaged by the hurricane; purify enough water for the next 3 months; and plant a hardy food and cash crop.
We have not taken this decision lightly. This campaign is the culmination of intense deliberations over what the most meaningful action we could take would be, in the wake of the disaster with so many relief actors already deployed on the ground. After multiple visits to the southwest, however, it became abundantly clear that the relief effort is facing severe challenges and that it is failing to reach people in need.
We have a personal and a corporate responsibility to help our fellow man. Sigora has already distributed 200,000 water purification tabs and 10,000lbs of food. But it’s not enough. Not even close.
For the past four days we have been working closely with a group of incredibly dedicated local organisations to organize the logistics to procure and distribute the corrugated metal roofing, water purification tabs, and moringa seeds for 2,000 families (of 5 people) in three towns in the worst-affected areas. We have our distribution partners in place, and have already started securing the inventory of supplies so that we can begin distribution without delay. We are also working with our partners to secure a contribution of food aid to distribute along with our kits whenever possible. Sigora will be providing all of the necessary planning, logistical and communications support, as well as equipment and human resources for as long as is necessary. Every single dollar donated to the campaign goes towards relief.
Please give generously.
Andy Bogdan BindeA, CEO Sigora International
Goal: US$ 96,000 in 7 days
What for? Provide 10,000 people living in hard-to-reach areas with roofing supplies to permanently repair their homes; clean water for the next 3 months; and the inputs to plant a hardy food and cash crop.
Why? Two weeks after Hurricane Matthew violently struck Haiti, assistance has not yet reached tens of thousands of people living in remote regions. The UN reports that 90% of homes are severely damaged, while the number of cholera cases has doubled every day since the hurricane.
Through our network of local partners we have already distributed 5000lbs of food and 200,000 water purification tablets – enough for 800,000 liters of clean drinking water – to families living in remote areas. (How? Donkeys, motorcycles and incredibly dedicated partners.) But it’s not enough.
Where? 500 families (2,500 people) in Beaumont; 500 families (2,500 people) in Marc; and 1000 families (5000 people) in Dame Marie.
How? Distribution is carried out by our network of local partners are on the ground who have longstanding relationships with the targeted communities. All materials are locally sourced (except for the water purification tablets which are procured from Ireland).
Who are we? Sigora Haiti is a clean energy micro-utility company that provides clean reliable and fairly priced energy to underserved areas in Haiti. We believe that we have an obligation to help our fellow man when a disaster like Hurricane Matthew deals a devastating blow. We are running this campaign because we have identified a very real and critical gap in the current response that, with your help, can be addressed. Immediately.
BACKGROUND TO THE CAMPAIGN
This past week our team took a 4-day trip to the Great South of Haiti, the area most impacted by Hurricane Mathew, to assess the damage to the electrical grid network. Driving on rural roads, through intermittent downpours, we saw house after house stripped of its roof. Unlike in the cities, there was no patchwork aid-agency-branded tarpaulin. Just a succession bare roof frames. The people living here have had no reprieve from the rain. In these remote areas there is no access to clean water; storm surge and sewage have contaminated the swollen rivers. Crops and food stores have been washed away; this year’s harvest completely destroyed, and with it families’ livelihoods.
What we witnessed firsthand is backed-up by reports from relief operators on the ground. According to the October 19th Situation Report No13 from the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA):
- 1.4 million people need aid
- 175,000 people are displaced (living in shelters). Emergency and safe shelter and non-food items (NFI) remain a critical need in the affected areas.
- No significant new pipeline contributions for tarpaulins or CGI are being made (SitRep No12 ). There is concern that once the plastic sheeting distributions are complete, the shelter response will slow down.
- 806,000 people are at an extreme level of food insecurity
- An estimated 1,250,000 people, including 500,000 children, need safe water and adequate sanitation to help prevent the spread of diseases, especially cholera.
- Several drinking water sources have been contaminated and there is a very high risk of waterborne diseases spreading.
- 1,421 cholera cases are suspected. Cholera may be spreading in areas that barely had it before.
- Though access continues to be gained to more affected areas, the poor conditions and lack of infrastructure – especially in the rural areas – continue to impede progress to the more remote parts of the country.
We have set an initial fundraising goal $96,000 to provide 10,000 people with supplies to permanently repair their roof, purify water for the next 3 months, and plant a resilient crop that can either be consumed or sold to generate income.
Every $48 funds one kit containing the following items:
- 10 corrugated metal roofing sheets and nails ($35)
- 250 Aqua Tablets (1000 liters) ($3.5)
- Moringa tree agriculture kit ($5)
- Distribution costs (diesel, donkeys, etc) ($4.5)
Families of more than 5 people will receive more than one kit. We are targeting families whose houses are still standing but that have sustained damage to the roof. What we have observed is that the majority of damaged homes are in this category.
The kits will be distributed through our network of local partners, all of whom have been active in the region for at least 5 years and have strong ties with the communities. The 2,000 kits will be distributed as follows:
- Beaumont: 500 kits – reaching 2,500 people
- Marc: 500 kits – reaching 2,500 people
- Dame Marie: 1000 kits – reaching 5,000 people
Any and all additional funds will be used to provide kits to needy families in an expanded coverage area.
The time to act is now.
Q: From where are you sourcing the components for your kits?
A: All materials, except for the water purification tablets, are sourced locally and support the local economy. The water purification tablets are from a pharmaceutical company based in Ireland. An order for 1,000,0000 has already been placed. Necessary customs permissions have been sought and granted.
Q: Why have you picked these 3 towns?
A: Our aim is to distribute 2,000 kits, but the need is much greater than that, around 250,000. We are constrained only by the limits of our fundraising. Ideally we will go far beyond our goal. The towns were chosen based on (i) observed need; (ii) existence of an established distribution network for the affected area and their ability to execute; and (iii) absence of assistance to that area.
Q: What is a moringa tree?
A: Locally known as doliv or benzoliv, moringa olifeira is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E while containing minerals plus calcium, potassium and protein. The leaves can be eaten raw, sauteed with oil and garlic or added to rice and stews. The plant is estimated to contain twice the protein and calcium content of milk, several times the potassium of bananas, more iron than spinach and several times the vitamin C of oranges. Moringa’s high vitamin A content, almost four times that of carrots, is recognised as a potent micronutrient source to reduce child mortality. In Haiti, moringa’s role could also be vital for rearing goats and chickens, increasing milk production, for fish farming, and providing shade for coffee trees.
In 2013 the Haitian government initiated a campaign to promote the cultivation of the vitamin rich tree in an effort to combat malnutrition that at the time was estimated to affect 30% of children.
Q: Why aren’t you including food in your kits?
A: There are a number of agencies already undertaking emergency food aid distribution, and there is a great deal more in the pipeline, therefore we decided to forgo the cost of including food in the kits and instead reallocate the money towards producing more kits. To date there has been no distribution of permanent roofing solutions, only the limited distribution of tarps, and at the time of launching this campaign there are no plans for agencies to distribute metal roofing. When possible however, we will partner with other initiatives to deliver food aid to the communities we are serving.
Q: Aren’t aid agencies doing this? Why are you getting involved?
A: There are many agencies working on the ground to distribute assistance. However, as recognized by the agencies themselves, they have not been able to reach remote communities. We have existing relationships with individuals and agencies working in these hard-to-reach areas as well as the capacity to undertake the transport and distribution of assistance. The situation demands action now. It has rained every single day since the hurricane, and instead of improving, in many areas the situation is getting worse. Cholera cases are on the rise, as are acute diarrheal diseases, malaria, acute respiratory infections, emetic syndrome, gastroenteritis, influenza-like illnesses, and fever. Currently, there is no planned distribution of permanent solutions to help repair damaged homes, and yet over 90% of homes in the most affected areas were damaged by the hurricane. There is a clear gap in the response that we have the capacity to help address. We cannot stand idly by.
Q: How soon will distribution start?
A: Our team has already begun sourcing and collecting materials and making the necessary arrangements for distribution. An order for 1,000,000 aquatabs (water purification tablets) has been placed, and we are in the process of stockpiling a supply of roofing sheets. As soon as funds are donated to the campaign, we are mobilized and ready to begin distribution. The campaign will remain open even after the deadline to reach our goals has passed. Any additional funds received will go towards purchasing and distributing additional kits.
Q: How can I follow the progress of the campaign?
Q: I’ve already donated to the campaign [thank you!], is there anything else I can do to help?
A: Yes! First off, thank you for your donation! Know that absolutely every single dollar goes directly towards buying and distributing kits. To support us further please SHARE this campaign using the social media links above and encourage your friends and family to give.