Hurricane Matthew has devastated Haiti, but women are at the forefront of the recovery.
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The devastation in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew is extreme. According to recent estimates, the hurricane left more than 900 people dead and 2.1 million affected. Ninety percent of some areas of southern Haiti are reportedly destroyed, and the lack of clean drinking water carries threats of a cholera crisis.
Although international media has largely shifted its focus, local, grassroots, women-led groups are actively surveying the situation, working quickly to address the immediate needs of women and children, and standing ready to lead recovery and relief.
“There is so much damage and destruction—houses, plantations, livestock. Everything has disappeared and many people died,” explain Mikelita Jean and Malia Jean, Coordinators of Global Fund for Women grantee partner Association des Femmes Haïtiennes Infectées et Affectées par le VIH (Association of Haitian Women Living With and Affected By HIV, or AFHIAVIH), which was founded in 2007 to empower and meet the unique needs of women and children affected by HIV in Haiti. “People are in the street because even the shelters have been destroyed. Women and girls are the most vulnerable.”