The Red Cross brings relief to families affected by floods in Haiti
In Haiti, the storm has left 66 persons dead, 16 missing and 55 injured leaving a total of 12,393 families affected by the deadly storm. In addition, a total of 14,109 people are in shelters and approximately 13,000 houses were damaged.
Crops and cattle were devastated and other farm animals drowned affecting the livelihood of many vulnerable people. The most affected provinces are Ouest, Sud, Sud Est, Artibonite and Nippes and some of them still remain inaccessible.
On November 6, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a revised emergency appeal for USD $1,261,521 to assist 8,225 families affected by the floods in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and northern coast of Cuba.
From the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), USD $ 171,968 were rapidly allocated to support one thousand families in Haiti over the next six months in providing food and distributing primary relief items such as hygiene kits, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, jerry cans and tarpaulins to the most affected families.
The main focus of the aid will go towards the immediate provision of relief items and identifying early recovery and rehabilitation activities.
Also, efforts will be placed on supporting the Haitian Red Cross in psychosocial support and other health activities including the spread of diseases like dengue and prevention of other water borne diseases.
From the first moment of the emergency, the Haitian Red Cross participated in pre-alert activities and mobilized hundreds of volunteers to support in search and rescue, in evacuation of people, provided first aid and distributed essential relief assistance to the most affected communities.
"Les Nippes is one the hardest hit region in Haiti. Families, after so many days of rainfall since October, will hopefully see the water level recede because today is the first time that the National Risk and Disaster Response System lifted the alert. Yesterday, the threat level yellow was the lowest in weeks. It has been difficult to reach areas in les Nippes in particular Petit Trou des Nippes."
Finally, yesterday after crossing the Grande Riviere by canoes, the Haitian Red Cross team was able to arrive to the isolated city where many families had been isolated for more then 2 weeks.
The people felt better and relieved to see help finally reach their town. Some more help should be on its way within a few days from the Haitian Red Cross and some food from the World Food Programme.
The coping mechanism of the people has been tested relentlessly these past weeks due to recurrent floods. The families spared by Hurricane Dean, were flooded by the October rains and to Tropical Storm Noel.
So many people feel hopeless because they have lost everything and you can hear them saying" c'est la fin de moi maintenant" when they see heavy dark clouds rolling over.
The Red Cross volunteers are currently working in shelter coordination, evacuation and distribution. They are also participating in damage and needs assessments to determine immediate and early recovery needs.
Currently, more shelters continue to be opened throughout the country. In the metropolitan area of Cite Soleil, at least seven shelters are now opened. The Haitian Red Cross Society, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are coordinating with the National Civil Protection, the United Nations Offices and other non-governmental agencies (NGOs) in providing support, water and food to families in temporary shelters.
The Red Cross volunteers continue to provide help to displaced families in shelters and have delivered 492 blankets, 200 sheets, 400 units of soap, laundry soap as well as cleaning kits to the shelters.
To date, the Haitian National Society has distributed 211 kitchen kits, 196 hygiene kits, 300 mattresses, 397 jerry cans (10 litre collapsible), 890 units of water, 65 units of milk in the Ouest province and in the metropolitan areas surrounding Port-au-Prince (Cite Soleil Tabarre, Croix des Bouquets, Carrefour, Ganthier). A total of 780 families have received aid in shelters thanks to the Red Cross rapid response actions.
More distributions of blankets, mattresses, kitchen kits, jerry cans, buckets and purification tablets are expected in the coming days in Cite Soleil in the Ouest, Sud-Est, Bas-Artibonite provinces. The affected communities will also benefit from psychosocial support to assist affected families in recovering from the effects of the storm.
Studies have shown an increase in the number of disasters over the decade. Comparing data for the past decade (1997-2006) with data for the previous decade (1987-1996), the number of reported disasters grew from 4,241 to 6,806 - an increase of 60 per cent.
The number, severity and impact of disasters are on the rise because of factors such as climate change, unplanned mass-urbanization, rapid population growth and environmental degradation.