Hurricane Matthew devastated Haitian lives in October. In the midst of the destruction and despair, life and health was a gift the Air Transat team, in partnership with Food For The Poor, gave to tens of thousands of Haitians, through the distribution of clean water and medicines.
Food For The Poor used its strong distribution network in Haiti to deliver the Air Transat emergency relief flight shipment of 2.8 million Aquatabs water purification tablets and medicines worth over one million dollars directly to individuals and to many institutions serving the people of Haiti.
Among the recipients was La Nouvelle Ecole Communautaire de Grand Duc, a school located in a remote part of the country. Principal of the school, Mrs. Monclair, shared a bit of what life is like in the community and the difference these life saving gifts have made to residents there. “People in this area don’t receive help very often because of the distance. They are very poor, and after Matthew, they became even poorer.”
In an effort to help the students and their families, she sought the advice of a friend who encouraged her to contact the Food For The Poor regional distribution centre for assistance. She visited the centre and received a supply of Aquatabs that she in turn distributed to the people in the community.
“Before giving them out, I had to train the people on how to use the tablets and the importance of using them correctly,” she explained. “Some of the children at school were having diarrhea because of the water they were drinking so the tablets have really made a big difference in terms of providing them with clean drinking water. On behalf of the community, I just want to say a big thank you to our donors in Canada for being so kind to us. We really appreciate your kindness.”
Another beneficiary organization, the Centre de Sante de Cavaillon, saw a steady stream of people coming in search of help. Hurricane Matthew made a bad situation unbearable for the people of the community. The rivers became more polluted, and so many people lost their lives; others lost homes and all that they had. According to a member of staff at the centre, there is great need for Aquatabs and oral serum, which helped to significantly reduce the number of deaths in the community following Hurricane Matthew.
In communities across the country, similar stories were repeated. Many were saved from poor health and death thanks to the availability of water purification tablets, rehydration medication and the other medicines.
Dr. Clertida Cassamajor: “I am very grateful to Food For The Poor for helping us save a seven-month-old baby who was completely dehydrated from gastroenteritis. The pediatric electrolyte (oral rehydration salts) administered at our mobile clinic saved her life.
Dr. Michel Jr. Grammond, Clinique Medicale de Camp Perrin: “It’s a pleasure for me to express my gratitude today. You don’t know what you have done. As a doctor, my job is to help people in need, heal the sick and reduce pain. When I saw everybody coming in to the clinic after the Hurricane I panicked because I knew I didn’t have enough medicine for all the people; I wouldn’t be able to do my job. Thank God you sent us the items at a good time; the Aquatabs were very helpful for me. I had been asking the people to boil water before drinking it but I knew that most of them wouldn’t do it because they didn’t have the financial means to buy the charcoal to do so. To you donor, I am asking you not to stop sending the Aquatabs, you are saving lives; It is way easier to put a tablet in water than it is to buy coal to boil water. God will bless you for all the good you have done.”
On behalf of the people of Haiti, so much gratitude goes out to Jean-François Lemay, Gilles Hudicourt and all of the Air Transat team members who made this gift of life a reality. Huge respect and thanks for so generously offering your time, staff and a dedicated aircraft to help in Haiti’s time of need. The combination of Air Transat’s corporate social responsibility and the individual staff members’ kindness will always be remembered.
- On May 24, 2017