Thanks to donations immediately after the hurricane, Espere team members were able to stock the organization's SUV with food and water and travel to Les Cayes; one of the most populated areas hit critically by Hurricane Matthew. We were not sure that the car would be able to reach Les Cayes, but we decided to try anyway.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that physiological needs like food, water, and rest are fundamental to human psychological well-being. In order to fulfill Espere’s vision of finding hope, strength and peace of mind for our Haitian community, crisis situations demand the acknowledgement of basic human needs. Espere is already operational in Haiti, with an active social network and access to resources that can be used to help those in peril. While we are not a disaster relief organization, we are grateful to be able to leverage our unique situation to help increase peace of mind.
Espere’s SUV was able to reach Les Cayes. As in the news, our team members saw much destruction and devastation. They were able to distribute their food and water at several ad-hoc shelters in schools and churches, and also at the homes of a few families who lived remotely from the center of town.
Our team was able to assess the psychosocial and physical needs of men, women and children through formal conversations with community and NGO leaders, and informal conversations with people they met. We are planning our long term response to meet the needs identified over the coming months. Trauma induced mental illness can last months and years after life has physically regained normalcy. We are committed to long term service in response to this disaster.
(Map taken from OCHA Hurricane Matthew Situation Report No. 01. Arrow and place title added for clarity).