People in the Dominican Republic and Haiti are facing ‘the day after’ Hurricane Irma, which has caused widespread damage before heading past Cuba and on to the US.
Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of the most vulnerable people in the heaviest-hit areas, mainly in the north of both countries.
Oxfam’s Tania Escamilla – who weathered the storm in Haiti’s second city, Cap Haitien – said “we believe the worst of the hurricane has passed and people here hope to have fortunately escaped the worst.”
Our teams reported heavy rain and flooding in the Ouanaminthe district and in Fort Liberte city at the Dominican Republic border, and a broken bridge at the Massacre River linking the two countries. Thousands of houses have been damaged in the Dominican Republic and people displaced.
“Our main concern remains how much damage Irma’s rains and flooding caused to sanitation and water infrastructure,” Escamilla said. “We’ve heard that flooding is up to a metre high in poor neighbourhoods here in Haiti.
“Many people didn’t evacuate their homes here, so there is still a risk from the rain. We are seeing a lot of trash and waste out in the flooded streets in Cap Haitien, which is exactly the type of condition that heightens the risk of cholera and other diseases.”
Oxfam teams in Cap Haitien, Ouanaminthe and Gonaive, in the northern part of the country, have the necessary stock for cholera prevention.
Oxfam is continuing to monitor the progress of Hurricane Jose following behind, which threatens more damage including to islands already wrecked by Irma. A third hurricane – Katia – is forming to threaten Veracruz in Mexico. Oxfam is prepared to assess and respond with essential supplies.
Latin America and the Caribbean is highly susceptible to multiple recurrent hazards, and people are more vulnerable due to poverty and inequality.
Oxfam also is working closely with authorities in Cuba, and has emergency relief supplies and water, sanitation and emergency food security experts to support the response and assess damage for all three countries.
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