efore Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, the IMA team had made substantial progress in providing clean water and access to basic sanitation and hygiene interventions at 60 schools in the Southeast, South and Grand’Anse departments.
With funding from Episcopal Relief & Development, new latrines had been built or renovated, handwashing stations had been installed and school health clubs were busy. The Healthy Schools, Successful Children project, which began in 2015, was on schedule to be completed by the end of June 2017 as planned.
But the category 4 hurricane that passed directly and slowly over Haiti’s southern peninsula on Oct. 4, 2016, halted and, in many cases, destroyed that work.
“It was really disheartening to see the impact of this disaster where almost 90 percent of schools that we are targeting in this project were devastated,” Dr. Paul-Emile Dalexis, the WASH Program Manager, said.
While most schools were affected and had some damage from the hurricane, a total of 25 of the project’s 60 schools were severely damaged and weren’t functional without major repairs: nine in the Southeast, seven in the South and nine in Grand’Anse. A dozen schools were also used as temporary shelters by displaced community members, including eight schools in the South and four in Grand’Anse.
Despite many challenges, all of the project schools were open and educating children again by mid-January, less than four months after the hurricane.