On 4 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, the worst natural disaster since the 2010 earthquake, causing widespread damage, flooding and displacement. In total, 2 million people were affected, including over 890,000 children.
The CP AoR deployed two Rapid Response Team (RRTs) members for a total of 12 weeks: Petra Heusser, RRT Coordination specialist, and Magnat Kavuna, RRT Information Management specialist.
“We often arrive just after a disaster strikes and we have to understand the situation, strengthen coordination systems and find solutions to numerous challenges in a very short period of time. The first weeks are very demanding. After a natural disaster, children are at an increased risk of separation from their families, child labor and physical and sexual violence, while the access to schools or other services is interrupted. This can have serious and life-threatening consequences, especially for the most vulnerable children,” said Heusser.
The RRTs built coordination and IM capacity, and child protection was mainstreamed into other sectors in the critical first weeks after the hurricane.
“Together with local authorities and the UNICEF child protection staff, we were working to improve the coordination outcomes and to achieve quality programming, as well as the protection of children and their families who were affected by the disaster. Protection is vital for children in a crisis. It helps them in the immediate term, and it is important for their future,” Heusser, added.
Petra Heusser is a child protection coordination expert, seconded by SDC to the Child Protection AoR Rapid Response Team for the third year.
Magnat Kavuna is an information management expert and was seconded by the Child Fund Alliance to the RRT until January 2017.