Thanks to a donation of more than $1.1 million (wholesale) of personal care products, 4,380 hygiene kits were distributed last week to the most vulnerable people living in camps in Haiti. Direct Relief donated six ocean containers, or more than 58 tons, of hygiene products to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Haiti, which is pairing the items with other materials and packing the kits.
With over a million people still living in crowded camps eight months after the earthquake, the need for hygiene products is very high.
“Hygiene supplies have become prized possessions,” says Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief’s operations specialist in Haiti. “People are living in extremely tight quarters; only some of the camps have running water and toilets, there is no food provision, and when it rains–as it does almost every evening–the camps become muddy, filthy pits. When the rain starts, everyone runs for cover, but all they have is a tarp or tent.”
Direct Relief has donated enough products to assemble 87,000 hygiene kits, including shampoo, soap, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. Since early September, the kits have been distributed to families at camps and birthing centers in Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Petit Goave, Delmas, Fond Parisien, Croix des Bouquets, Delmas, Tabarre, Petionville, and Gressier. The kits supply a family of five for nearly a month and are assembled in buckets they can use to collect water.
The most recent distribution is to KOFAVIV, a Haitian nongovernmental organization whose mission is to help protect and support women who have been sexually assaulted while living in a camp since the earthquake.
These hygiene supplies have been some of the most requested items by the victims of the earthquake, and provide a bit of comfort for people in dire need.