Haiti hit by Tropical Storm Isaac
Haiti has been hit by a major tropical storm, which has caused heavy flooding, landslides and severe damage to buildings.
Sarah Marsh, our Emergency Response Officer for Haiti, said:
“We’re very concerned about the damage this storm has caused. We’ve been working with local engineers to build houses that should withstand storms like this one – but there are still nearly 400,000 people living in tents, as well as many more living in ramshackle housing. The storm is likely to have left many of them in a desperate situation. We’re also worried that flooding could greatly increase the threat of cholera. There have been more than 35,000 cases already this year, and the presence of standing water can only make matters worse.
“In the last few days, our partner Caritas Haiti has been working with local churches to sound the alarm about the storm, and encouraging people to prepare for the worst. Today they’re mobilising teams of emergency volunteers who are starting the clean-up operation. We’re waiting to hear how bad the damage is, but we’re ready to support them however we can.”
Preparing for disasters
Helping communities prepare for disasters and manage them when they happen has been a major part of our work since Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010. Our partners have, for example, trained farmers to reduce the risk of landslides by building walls and planting trees and shrubs whose roots act as natural barriers. They have also worked in schools to educate children about what to do when a hurricane strikes. We’ve also rebuilt cholera units in hospitals across the country, and improved supplies of water and sanitation in order to prevent the spread of disease.
As we continue to assess the damage caused by the storm, please keep all the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers – and please donate to our Emergency Response Fund to help us act respond quickly to disasters like this one.