HAITI CARE bracing for humanitarian emergency following storm

 Emergency Response
 3rd Sep 2008

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI (September 3, 2008)  The humanitarian situation in parts of Haiti can be expected to deteriorate rapidly after tropical storm Hanna hit the country’s northern coast, CARE warned on Wednesday. Hanna, with winds reaching 70 miles per hour (113 k.p.h) and heavy rains, affected the whole country, starting on Monday night and continuing through Tuesday.

The northwestern city of Gonaives is hardest hit, with the entire city flooded, in some areas to a depth of 2 meters (6 feet). All roads into the city are cut off, posing major obstacles to humanitarian agencies in responding to the emergency.

“Our office space in Gonaives, is flooded, and several staff members remain stranded at their homes, but we are working to assess the humanitarian needs of survivors,” said Gary Philoctète, CARE Haiti assistant country director. “CARE has strong relationships with local partner agencies, and we will work with them in providing emergency relief including food and safe water supplies.”

With two more tropical storms expected to reach Haiti in the coming days, weather conditions pose further obstacles to relief efforts. The almost total deforestation of Haiti puts the country at extreme risk of flooding from even moderate tropical storms.

“We can expect that in the affected regions, a high percentage of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and public buildings such as schools will be destroyed or severely damaged. Longer term, the destruction of crops may create food shortages,” said Philoctète. “We will maintain our commitment over the longer term as Haitians rebuild their communities and livelihoods.”

Contact: Rick Perera, +1 404 979 9453, mobile: +1 404 457 4649, rperera@care.org

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s emergency relief efforts because our experience shows that their gains translate into benefits for families and communities.

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