UNICEF Ireland Chief expresses deep concern for children, as Haiti’s hurricane funding needs multiply

30th October 2016

DUBLIN/PORT-AU-PRINCE, 30 October 2016 Almost one month on from hurricane, Haitians are far from returning to normality. All indications are that the destruction Hurricane Matthew brought is much more significant than previously understood, and this past week, UNICEF tripled its estimated funding needs for the country to $22.5 million. Meanwhile, Haitian and World Bank officials say the hurricane caused nearly $2 billion of damage. Over a million children have been affected.

UNICEF Ireland launched a formal appeal when Hurricane Matthew made landfall in early October. Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, Peter Power, this weekend travelled to Haiti on foot of fresh concerns, including heightened child protection and disease risks.

Quick facts

  • 2.1 million people affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti alone
  • One in two affected are children
  • 175,000 displaced
  • 106,000 children are out of school

Speaking from Port-au-Prince, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, Peter Power, said Sunday: “I am seeing extreme levels of damage. Today I travelled to some of the worst-affected areas in the West, including Les Cayes. What I saw was devastation on a massive scale. The people of Haiti need help now. This is the second natural disaster many of them have endured in their lifetime – that is made doubly difficult by the fact that their nation lacks the basic infrastructure to cope with existing challenges including malnutrition, disease and drought, not to mind a fresh emergency. Children in Haiti now face destitution, and the risk of disease.”

The latest from the field:

  • Over 150,000 houses destroyed in the West
  • 80% of hospitals in West destroyed
  • 100% of crops destroyed
  • All 38 cholera centres in the West out of operation
  • Water treatment plants severely damaged, leading to tenfold increase in cholera
  • Between 300-500 schools destroyed
  • Child protection issues emerging – reported increase in families leaving children at care centres

What is UNICEF doing?

Right before the hurricane struck, UNICEF prepositioned water bladders, water treatment units and bottled water in the South and Grand ’Anse departments to help families prepare. UNICEF was on the ground 24 hours after the hurricane hit and since then, working with partners, has continuously scaled up its response, providing to date:

  • 10,000 emergency packs including blankets, hygiene kits and buckets to families in South and Grand’Anse departments;
  • Nearly 20 water treatment plants to bring water to approximately 100,000 people per day in the South, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments;
  • More than 1,000,000 Aquatabs for water treatment, allowing about 80,000 people to have access to safe water for 15 days;
  • 50 cholera kits, 20 washing points and information to 2,000 people on safe hygiene practices to prevent the spread of cholera;
  • Increase from 5 to 14 the number of teams deployed 24-48 hours after each suspected cholera case to provide immediate assistance. On average each team responds to 10 households which might be at risk.
  • 170 metric tons of emergency supplies flown in from Panama and Copenhagen.

The additional funds UNICEF is seeking will help provide children and their families with basic health, nutrition, education and protection including:

  • Cholera vaccination for people living in high-risk areas;
  • Nutrition services to malnourished children under the age of five and pregnant women;
  • Family tracing and reintegration for unaccompanied and separated children;
  • Recreational and psychosocial support to children affected by the hurricane;
  • Safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene;
  • Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services for people living in cholera zones
  • School supplies and learning materials for children in areas hit by the hurricane.

UNICEF has a long-term commitment to Haiti. The children’s charity had a team of almost 100 aid workers on the ground prior to the hurricane. The organisation’s commitment to Haiti stands.


*UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power available for interview from Haiti Monday. Mr Power can also comment on atrocities in Aleppo, Syria and in Mosul, Iraq.*

*Latest Broll from the field, including drone footage, here

UNICEF Ireland has launched an emergency appeal for the children of Haiti.


UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF has been operating for 70 years.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland | aedin@unicef.ie | Tel: +353 1 809 0281 | Mob: +353 85 1395272

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