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ACTED newsletter No 49 - Sep 2008

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News and Press Release
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ACTED HAITI: ACTED is working towards the humanitarian crisis response in Haiti

"Haiti is dogged by bad luck". This is the sad reality that has been revealing itself in these last weeks after the subsequent passage of the cyclones Gustav and Ike and of the tropical storms Fay and Hannah over the lands and coasts of the is-land. The cyclones hit the South and the West, while the tropical storms stroke the North and the North West of the island.

According to the last rapports of the Haitian Civil Protection Direction, more than 400 people died during the floods and 60 are missing. The situation is likely to get more difficult and it could worsen the humani-tarian emergency. More than 100,000 people are living in makeshift shelters and in the whole country more than 130,000 families have been seriously affected. The death toll is further in-creased by the poverty of this country and because of its fragile infrastructure which are still hit by heavy rains which continue to fall. The small mud houses, which are very common in the rural areas, are easily knocked down by mud flows which flood the villages. The situation of the agricultural sector is critical too. It has been assessed that more than 20,000 hectares of crop have been destroyed. Haiti, already affected by the food crisis which pro- voked riots in April, has to cope with a likely food se-curity crisis because of the heavy loss of cattle killed by the floods and the destruc-tion of crops.

ACTED Haiti's teams mobilised

In line with the whole international community, ACTED is working in order to bring emergency relief to those communities who already benefit from our daily actions. Since 2004, ACTED has been present in the island following the passage the tropical storm Jeanne. ACTED is currently working in two of the most affected departments by the bad weather: the Bas Artibonite and the Departement of Centre (the Haut Plateau). ACTED's programmes are essentially focused on wa-ter and sanitation, food security, and disaster preparedness.

ACTED has already started the distribution of more than 450 hygiene kits to populations in the target towns with the support of OFDA and IOM as well as launched an emergency food programme with the WFP (see information box).

ACTED aims to bring not only emergency relief but also wants to re-store normal life conditions for the populations in the returning zones in order to support affected populations in their early recover by help-ing them find basic items and deal with high prices

ACTED's emergency answer to boost the economy includes cash for work activities which will allow families to rebuild their assets and afford, in the short term, school fees as well as indispensables food items. Activ-ities of distribution (hygiene and kitchen tools kits) and improved drinking water access will continue until basic needs are met for the populations of ACTED's zones of intervention.