Hurricane Matthew has left tremendous devastation in its wake. Haiti was hit particularly hard, as flooding and wind damage has taken at least 1,000 lives and left people in need of food, shelter, and medical care. Many people are eager to help folks in Haiti, but I cannot overstate how important it is that people outside the country are extremely careful about how they lend a hand. Haiti has a long history of being exploited by organizations that will happily take your money while failing to actually bring relief to anyone.
If you can't trust international relief organizations, who can you trust? Haitians. There are many organizations within Haiti itself that need assistance right now. Here are some that have been verified by people living in Haiti to be direct, reputable ways to support hurricane relief, whether you're in the U.S., Haiti, or anywhere in the world.
Help With the Cleanup
Sakala is a youth community center in Cité Soleil, Haiti, that has been organizing volunteers to clean up areas damaged by the storm. You can make a donation to help them distribute supplies, clear debris, and provide clean water to prevent the spread of Cholera from contaminated flood water.
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) has been working in Haiti for years to provide waste management solutions, preserve natural resources, and improve the quality of life for impoverished Haitians. Right now SOIL is focused on cleanup and helping local organizations in their work. One hundred percent of the money they raise will go to emergency equipment and supplies being distributed across the southern region of Haiti. Follow SOIL for information about similar efforts to help Haiti's people and environment.
J/P HRO is an organization that was formed after the earthquake in 2010. Since then, it has helped 60,000 Haitians find permanent homes and has provided medical care for nearly 500,000. Now they turn their efforts to survivors of the hurricane in Les Cayes and other towns in the south of Haiti. You can make a donation through their website.
Help the People Recover
Beyond Borders is a U.S.-based organization that has been working in partnership with Haitian communities for many years. Now they are focusing on helping families on the island of Lagonav who experienced some of the worst of the hurricane. You can donate to sponsor full recovery families in the area — that means restoring homes, providing health care, and preserving livelihoods. One hundred dollars secures one month of recovery for a family on the island. The goal is to provide 18 months of recovery support for 100 families.
Fonkoze is a network of nonprofit institutions that help Haitian women to build up financial security and independence. They have set up a specific fund to help people recover from Hurricane Matthew. On their Donate page, select “Hurricane Matthew Relief” from the drop-down menu under “Designation” to give to the communities Fonkoze is helping.
Follow Effective Aid Haiti on Facebook. The group is connected to organizations that have been working in Haiti for a long time, and will make sure that anything shared is sending help directly to where it's needed.
There are many ways to support Haiti right now, but also some things not to do. Avoid donating goods that Haiti already has, for example; things like clothes can be obtained within the country and foreign donations can harm locals who make and sell clothes for a living.
We're working on ways to help with Hurricane Matthew relief Stateside as well. In the meantime, be cautious about how and where you donate in the aftermath of a natural disaster anywhere. You want to make sure that you are helping people in the best ways possible.