IFRC



In-Pictures - High spirits and solidarity permeate Red Cross aid distributions following Hurricane Matthew

Story and pictures by Stéphanie Picard

From the first moments of the distribution in Jérémie, Haitian Red Cross volunteers and IFRC ERU Relief teams, and those who had come for much-needed tarpaulins and hygiene kits, came together in an atmosphere of solidarity, providing a measure of relief for all those involved.

Prior to the distribution, Red Cross teams visited the city to identify those left most vulnerable by Hurricane Matthew and ensured that their immediate needs were met, while the community worked together to rebuild and overcome their losses.

Young children, pregnant women, people living with physical disabilities and the elderly were given priority to ensure they could return home as soon as possible.

Every mesi anpil (thank you very much) and yon konten (I am happy) strengthened Red Crossers’ resolve, whose mission is to bring relief to those whose homes and livelihoods have been ravaged by Hurricane Matthew.  

 

As the sun rises, Haitian Red Cross volunteers and aid workers gather around ERU Relief member Myriam to distribute hygiene kits and tarps to more than 1,600 families affected by Hurricane Matthew. In an exchange of friendship, people hold hands as boxes are handed over to older women needing assistance, their family members and loved ones. A subtle complicity forms, lifting all to high spirits.

 

Haitian Red Cross volunteer Stéphanie helped Maggie carry her bags to the exit, where she would wait for her friends to come through the distribution line. Returning to offer help to others, Stéphanie spotted Poupette, who was calling out for her friend Maggie. Upon their reunion at the exit line, Maggie and Poupette’s heart-felt gratitude towards Stéphanie and their expressions of joy contagiously brightened the atmosphere for all those around. 

 

Haitian Red Cross volunteer Stéphanie helped Maggie carry her bags to the exit, where she would wait for her friends to come through the distribution line. Returning to offer help to others, Stéphanie spotted Poupette, who was calling out for her friend Maggie. Upon their reunion at the exit line, Maggie and Poupette’s heart-felt gratitude towards Stéphanie and their expressions of joy contagiously brightened the atmosphere for all those around. 

 

Erney, 47 years old, smiled as a Haitian Red Cross volunteer helped him carry the tarp and box he’d just received  “Everything back home was broken by the hurricane. As soon as I get home, I will put up the tarp. I am very thankful to Red Cross,” he said courageously.

 

“My house has been “écrasée.” What I am wearing is all that I own, and it was given to me by friends, neighbors and family who themselves had little left to give,” Sulface told the Haitian Red Cross volunteers in her poignant testimonial. While the kit and tarp received were appreciated, what Sulface would like above all else is to return home. Her sister took her in after the hurricane left her homeless. “My family is very generous, but I want to return home. For now, all that is left is rubble and broken pieces of wooden beams.” 

 

14 year-old Mia and her friend Jessie came together to pick-up the tarp for their families. “I have to bring the tarp home as soon as possible to help reinforce our roof. But we will not keep the contents of the hygiene kits to ourselves. I want to share it with my neighbors and friends who need it just as much as me.” she said, in testament to a wisdom beyond her years. The true meaning of community is not lost to anyone here. 

 

Haitian Red Cross volunteer Stéphanie lost her home in the hurricane. For her, it’s an honor to help her community and work together to recover from the hardship.


La Fédération internationale des Sociétés de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge constitue, avec ses 190 Sociétés nationales membres, le plus vaste réseau humanitaire du monde. En tant que membres du Mouvement international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge, nous sommes guidés dans notre travail par sept Principes fondamentaux: humanité, impartialité, neutralité, indépendance, volontariat, unité et universalité.