As tropical storm Grace brings flooding and the threat of mudslides to Haiti, many earthquake survivors still have nowhere to shelter from the storm.
Sara Almer, humanitarian director at ActionAid International, says:
“Storm Grace has piled further peril onto communities already devastated by the earthquake.
“Women and girls are most at risk as thousands of families remain homeless and in urgent need of emergency relief, including water, food support and shelter.
“Flooding and possible mudslides could further hamper the relief efforts, leaving communities increasingly vulnerable.”
Ysnell Jean, who lives in Roseaux in the Grand'Anse region, said on Monday afternoon that the weather was getting worse, with strong winds and heavy rain making people fearful.
As part of ActionAid Haiti’s network of women leaders trained to be first responders during emergencies, Ysnell was doing all she could to support her community prepare for the storm, despite a shortage of tarpaulin and shelter.
“The situation on the ground is really awful, people have lost all their assets and belongings, their houses are damaged. People are living in the streets with no [clean] water,” she says.
“Before the earthquake, if there was a storm, people would gather in the big churches. But now the church is damaged, and people are afraid to go there. And they are afraid to stay in their own damaged homes.”
Since the devastating earthquake, Ysnell has been working with communities in Roseaux to provide emergency relief including first aid and support for women and girls at risk of gender-based violence.
She fears the storm could put women and girls at even greater risk.
“I am concerned for women and girls, because they are more exposed to risks like violence after a huge disaster,” she says. “This is one of the biggest threats when we are facing disasters, so we need to help affected communities protect women from sexual abuse.”
Women like Ysnell, who are trained to be leaders in emergencies, are providing emergency response including running protection services for women and girls at safe spaces in Roseaux and Beaumont.
ActionAid’s response to the earthquake includes reaching 2,000 families with food support, shelter, essential items including blankets, pillows, kitchenware and hygiene kits for women and girls. Emergency teams are also planning to scale up existing programmes providing cash and food support to 5,150 families in Les Cayes and 5,400 families in Jérémie.
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