Hurricane Matthew: The Veolia Foundation provides relief in Haiti

Haiti was still recovering from the terrible earthquake of 2010, when a new natural disaster struck the country on the night of 3 to 4 October 2016: a category 4 storm, hurricane Matthew, killed several hundred people. The Southwestern region of the country was the hardest hit: many cities were flattened, such as Jérémie, where 80% of the city was destroyed. A provisional assessment by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 2.1 million people were affected, 1.4 million people were in need of humanitarian aid, and more than 800,000 people faced food insecurity.

Humanitarian & Development

Date :
October 2016
Assignment type:
Technical diagnosis
Operational support
Installation of emergency equipment
Post-crisis evaluation

In the days following the hurricane, the French NGO ACTED approached the Veolia Foundation to organize a humanitarian emergency mission.

At the humanitarian platform in Massy-Palaiseau (91), where the Foundation stores its emergency equipment, a team of volunteers mobilized to prepare and pack 2 tonnes of water purification equipment and ensure its transport to Haiti.

A plane chartered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs left Paris on October 10, carrying:

  • 6 Aquaforce 500 water purification units, with a capacity of 2 m3 per hour each
  • 6 storage tanks, with a holding capacity of 3 m3 each
  • Pumping equipment to transport and distribute water by truck 

The Veolia Foundation's Emergency Response in Haiti
On October 11, a member of the Veolia Foundation and a volunteer from the Veoliaforce intervention team flew to Port-au-Prince. They were initially responsible for receiving the equipment and organizing its transfer to the priority sites identified by the UN Humanitarian Coordination and Haiti’s Drinking water and wastewater national office (DINEPA) as having the greatest need for drinking water. At the same time, they recruited 7 ACTED staff members to be trained in the use of the Aquaforce 500 stations and ensure their day-to-day operation.
Steve Mougin,
Development technician and member of the Veoliaforce intervention team
Damien Machuel, Project Manager and permanent member of the Veolia Foundation
Louis-Joseph Jourdana, Plant technician and member of the Veoliaforce intervention team

A second Veoliaforce volunteer joined the team a few days later, and at the same time, Veolia employees in Guadeloupe mobilized and offered their support to the Foundation.

On October 15, all the emergency equipment left Port-au-Prince to be dispatched to their deployment sites. The Aquaforce 500 units were carried aboard US Army helicopters, as road conditions were too uncertain to consider trucking.

Three Aquaforce 500 units were transported to the country’s South coast: two in Port-à-Piment, and one near Chardonnières, further West. Three other units landed in Dame-Marie, in Western Haiti.

The Veoliaforce team, accompanied by members of the NGO ACTED, left for Port-à-Piment by car to begin the theoretical and practical training, set up the equipment and quickly start the production and distribution of drinking water. Once all the units were up and running, the Veoliaforce team remained in support of ACTED staff for several weeks, to ensure they encountered no difficulties using the equipment.

A TV report about humanitarian aid in Haiti :

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Publication in ReliefWeb, 26 octobre 2016 :