Critical relief is starting to reach villages in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew, but the scale of devastation to roads and infrastructure continues to make aid deliveries to many remote communities extremely challenging.
Local Red Cross volunteers, with the support from the international Red Cross Red Crescent movement, are steadily reaching more people every day with assistance and supplies. But many small inland and coastal communities in dire need of help are extremely difficult to reach.
"Infrastructure was already limited before the storm, said Colin Chaperon, Red Cross Field Assessment and Coordination Team Leader. “Now many roads are impassable due to flooding and collapsed buildings and debris. Large trucks transporting relief items just cannot get through.”
Many of the ports and wharfs along the south-western coast are also damaged or too small for the kinds of cargo vessels that would need to dock.
“We are working around the clock finding alternate ways to get emergency assistance to hard-to-reach communities,” Mr Chaperon said.
The Red Cross have put in place a logistics supply chain that includes offloading more than 30 tonnes of newly arrived supplies from a large ship on to small boats in order to reach isolated villages.
Red Cross volunteers are also walking long distances to access communities when they are unable to reach them by vehicle—and taking with them as many essential items as they can carry, such as food and hygiene kits.
“Our focus now is getting essential aid to remote communities which have not received assistance and ensuring they have the medical care they need, and clean water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to stop the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera,” said Mr Chaperon.