Oxfam stands ready to respond to severe Hurricane Matthew in Caribbean

Emergencies, General, Media Releases, News article written on the 04 Oct 2016

Oxfam stands ready to respond to Category 4 Hurricane Matthew, should it be requested, as it bears down on the Caribbean.

The hurricane is moving north very slowly at just 9 km/h and is predicted to pass just east of Jamaica before hitting both Haiti and Cuba.

Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager Meg Quartermaine said Hurricane Matthew was bringing devastating winds over 230 km/h, with the strongest gusts recorded at 259 km/h.

“Because this hurricane moving so slowly it is expected to sit over the Caribbean for a couple of days, bringing destructive winds and dumping torrential rainfall, which could cause flash flooding and landslides,” Ms Quartermaine said.

“Our teams on the ground are also concerned about the potential for deadly storm surges, with waves of 5-8 metres expected in Haiti. Especially in the exposed west of the country this is a concern due to the high population density and number of shelters made of poor materials.

“Given the vulnerability of people in Haiti after the deadly earthquake in 2010, we’re really concerned about the potential devastation this huge storm could cause.

“As it currently stands, Hurricane Mathew could be one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the region.”

Oxfam teams in Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic are prepared to respond should assistance be required. Oxfam has expertise in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, emergency food security and livelihoods.

“If Hurricane Matthew maintains its current intensity and path the consequences could be disastrous,” Ms Quartermaine said.

Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses can be made online.

For interviews or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0428 367 318 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au