Qatar Red Crescent Active in Haiti Emergency Operation after Hurricane Matthew

Published: 5 December 2016 23:56 CET

When news of Hurricane Matthew’s devastation of Haiti reached the Qatar Red Crescent Society headquarters in Doha, QRC began reaching out to traditional donors to explore ways in which they could lend a hand and provide assistance to the Haitian people.  They knew they count on the Qatar Fund for Development.  Within a short time the national society had secured from the QFFD enough resources to contribute around CHF 500,000 for the International Federation’s emergency appeal, and to mobilize a small team of its disaster-trained staff to be deployed to Haiti to assist the International Federation’s relief operation.


“In the area around Jeremie where we were based we encountered some problems before we could distribute the NFIs donated by the Qatar Red Crescent.  They were mostly logistical, having to do with the destroyed infrastructure after the passage of Matthew and the remoteness and isolation of the affected communities.  There were also strict security restrictions placed of all Red Cross and Red Crescent personnel,” said the QRCS Head of Disaster Preparedness.  “But our team is experienced and we managed to organize several distributions of relief supplies jointly with the International Federation staff and Haiti Red Cross volunteers there, including mosquito nets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and hygiene kits,” he added.  “We were impressed with the level of collaboration between the different national societies present on the ground, as well as with the cooperation among all the humanitarian actors there.  It is clear that even with the best intentions, without proper planning and close coordination with others, helping people in these remote locations would be impossible.”  Confirming this point, IFRC Head of Operations Florent del Pinto said that Haiti is a great example of good cooperation and coordination between the different Movement partners in support of the Haiti Red Cross.


In Roseau, a community located only a few kilometers from Jeremie where the devastation was enormous, beneficiaries initially did not understand that the Red Crescent emblem identifying the QRCS staff distributing NFIs was part of the same Red Cross family that they are so used to seeing in times of need.  So the Qataris, who had come prepared for that eventuality, took advantage of the opportunity, unfolded a large flag of the Red Crescent emblem and conducted a on-site dissemination session to explain not only some basic facts about their country, but the different components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the Seven Fundamental Principles that guide its work.


"I feel very lucky,” says Lise-Marie, a 19-year old who studies economics in Jeremie. “I did not lose any of my family members in Hurricane Matthew. I know people who have lost their parents and children." Displaying her newly acquired knowledge about the Movement, she also expressed gratitude for the work done by the Qatar Red Crescent and International Federation staff working in her district.  "What you're doing will realize the dreams of many people," she said.  “I want to study and learn to realize my dreams and the dreams of my family and all those in need. One day, Roseau will become beautiful, with the help of everyone. We will restore schools and repair the houses, and we will start a new life."


Proud of the contribution of his national society in Haiti, Qatar Red Crescent Secretary General Mr. Ali bin Hassan Al-Hammadi said in a statement: "The Qatari Red Crescent, with its expertise in disaster response and emergency assistance, has been qualified to implement projects that are funded by Qatar Fund for Development to help the affected families of Hurricane Matthew that struck Haiti last October.  Our national society is committed to continue its humanitarian efforts to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and affected communities without partiality. This value and strategic objective resonate with the aims of the State of Qatar, represented in QFFD, to offer a lifeline to all people in need around the world.”