CARE helps Haitians prepare for tropical storm Tomas
Forecasters predict the storm will bring a day or more of high winds and heavy rains to a country where hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the earthquake live in tents, tarps and makeshift homes.
CARE, which has been working in Haiti since 1954, is preparing stocks of emergency supplies for rapid distribution if needed once Tomas passes. They include tarps, jerry cans, soap and aquatabs to assure clean drinking water. In some specific areas, high energy biscuits will also be distributed. Additional water trucks are being stationed at some camp sites and workers are strengthening latrines and bathing facilities to ensure sanitation facilities essential to disease prevention survive the storm. CARE is also disseminating cholera prevention and storm preparedness information on the ground and by radio.
"Our primary concern is for the safety of families living in vulnerable structures," said Ginny Ubik, CARE's country director in Haiti. "In recent weeks we've been distributing shelter reinforcement kits. Many people have nowhere else to go."
The lack of forest cover in Haiti creates the potential for mudslides. And flooding brought on by heavy rains could potentially hasten the spread of the cholera outbreak as well as increase the risk of other water-born diseases. CARE, which provides chlorinated water to nine camps of displaced families, is particularly focused on keeping that supply going so people don't seek out alternative, potentially contaminated sources.
"We have already mobilised our staff of 450 to respond," said Ubik. "Once the storm passes, we will be doing everything possible to assure families have access to clean water and supplies that promote good hygiene."
For more information or to arrange interviews with staff in Haiti:
Melanie Brooks (in Geneva): +41 79 590 30 47, email@example.com