Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, which reached Haiti in March 2020, a state of emergency has been declared three times, limiting travel and closing schools, churches, factories, and airports. While these restrictions helped prevent the spread of the virus, they had a crippling effect on an economy where half of the population lives on less than US$2 per day, and a day off work equals a day without food.
“In response to this critical situation, ADRA decided to increase the purchasing power of the vulnerable people living around ADRA’s regional facilities in Haiti,” says Fritz Bissereth, ADRA’s country director in Haiti. “We want to enable people and help them meet their minimum needs for food and non-food items.”
ADRA implemented a money transfer to 2,600 households, or roughly 13,000 individuals, to help cover a little more than 13 days of wages according to the minimum salary index set for Haiti. In addition to the money transfer, ADRA distributed educational pamphlets on COVID-19 and 500 wash kits.
“Wash kits were given to the most vulnerable in need, including pregnant or lactating women, women who were the sole breadwinners of their household, or people who are disabled,” explains Bissereth.
He added that all staff and beneficiaries are required to wear face masks at all times during operation hours. “We want to keep and maintain the safety of our personnel as we serve so many in Haiti that have been affected. We don’t know when the pandemic will cease, but meanwhile, we will do all we can to prevent it from spreading by taking the necessary precautions,” Bissereth says.
Suze Valcin, a recipient of the voucher, praised ADRA for serving the community at a time it is most needed. “I saw God work miraculously in my family by the way he inspired ADRA to target the beneficiaries of this project. My husband died of a heart attack, leaving me to support two teenagers. Because of COVID-19, I was unable to work. The money transfer came at a time when I had obligations to meet. This breath of fresh air from ADRA in this situation was like a restart of life within my family. I hope ADRA can continue its ministry to the people who are in all kinds of difficulties,” says Valcin.
ADRA provided support in Haiti covering the north, northwest, central, and southern territories, ensuring as many communities that were most in need received cash voucher assistance. Cash vouchers were distributed to more than 2,000 people.
According to the World Health Organization, Haiti has at least 8,925 confirmed cases and at least 231 deaths. Many people are staying at home and self-treating due to the fact that most rural areas have no access to health care and hospitals are understaffed.