The impact of COVID-19 is already being felt in Haiti and throughout the Caribbean. On March 19, the government confirmed its first two cases and declared a state of emergency. The Haitian government has taken steps to limit the spread, including closing all schools and factories until further notice and establishing an 8 pm curfew. Lack of testing and access to protective equipment has already proven a problem, and we anticipate this will continue to be a major issue.
At Habitat for Humanity Haiti, we believe it’s more important than ever in the face of this crisis to continue to support the communities in which we work. In order to face the coronavirus pandemic, Habitat for Humanity Haiti has taken measures to ensure the safety of its staff as well as its beneficiaries.
Our offices are functioning with minimum operations and only a few team members allowed in the building at a time. A hand washing station has been installed at the front door to ensure that anyone stepping into the building, employees or otherwise, washes their hands prior to entering. All employees who can work remotely are greatly encouraged to do so. We continue our construction work in the North in communities affected by the 2018 earthquake, but we have provided members of the community with hand washing stations as well as training seminars on the proper measures to fight off infection.
We have also taken measures to reduce the number of builders who are on site at any given time. Our staff have assembled a team to bring people in rural Haiti the proper tools to combat the coronavirus providing soap, bleached water, and the lifesaving information required to prevent the spread of the disease. Our awareness campaigns are done in small groups, or door-to-door, while maintaining a safe distance between participants.
All participants are informed of proper measures to undertake in order to remain safe from disease. This includes, but is not limited to, frequent hand washing, sneezing into elbows, avoiding crowded areas, avoiding handshakes, and cheek kisses, which are common greetings in Haiti. Participants are trained on appropriate water storage techniques and the importance of wiping down surfaces and washing produce before consuming it.
Habitat for Humanity Haiti is committed to taking every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our staff as well as beneficiaries. Your donations continue to help us to empower the communities in Haiti. You can help us continue to support Haitian families here and designating your gift to Haiti. Together, we empower!