Haiti + 1 more

Hurricane Irma to Test the Readiness of the World’s Poorest Communities

News and Press Release
Originally published

The most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history is on target to hit the Dominican Republic & Haiti.

SAN DIEGO—September 6, 2017—Hurricane Irma, a category five storm with winds of 185mph, has already devastated the Caribbean, churning along a path towards Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, potentially making landfall on US mainland in Florida this weekend. Hispaniola expects tropical-storm force winds and heavy rainfall in the hours to come. Irma has the potential to cause large landslides in already vulnerable areas, destroy crops, and leave thousands of families in need.

Plant With Purpose partners with more than 14,000 farming families across the Dominican Republic and Haiti, helping them to restore watersheds, sustainably improve their farms, produce more food, build up their savings, create economic opportunities, and grow in hope. Plant With Purpose families have been working for more than twenty years to improve the resilience of their land against disasters.

Plant With Purpose’s international team is carefully monitoring the situation and mobilizing response strategies to prepare for Irma’s landfall in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Jean Kenold, Regional Coordinator in Acul du Nord, Haiti says: “The entire team has come together to develop our strategy.

We are identifying temporary shelters within the communities should families need to leave their homes.” Plant With Purpose’s goal, as always, is to meet today’s needs in a sustainable manner that generates long-term impact and moves towards a hopeful future. In the midst of disaster, Plant With Purpose partners are mobilizing as a community, demonstrating their faith and exhibiting resilience.

When it rains, water finds natural paths down trails, streets, gullies, and drains, making its way to the ocean. These drainage systems are known as watersheds. They connect everything. Plant With Purpose focuses on the watershed as a main unit of development so that upstream solutions have positive downstream effects. We work to break the vicious cycle between environmental degradation and rural poverty because a healthy and restored watershed leads to thriving communities.

Plant With Purpose farming families understand the importance of watersheds. They are their source of water—their source of life. Irma’s strength has the potential to devastate rural communities lacking watershed management systems. Excessive rainfall rolls down steep, deforested hillsides engulfing everything in its path. Through years of conservation efforts and infrastructure development, Plant With Purpose families will weather this storm--but a difficult road still lies ahead.

The organization’s international family supports one another through unexpected challenges. Supporters in Houston can identify with families facing the imminent threat of the coming storm as they continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Whether in Houston or Haiti, we are all vulnerable to natural disasters and need to rise to support each other in the coming days and months.

About Plant With Purpose

Plant With Purpose (plantwithpurpose.org) is an international development organization that transforms lives in rural areas where poverty is caused by deforestation. For more than 30 years, Plant With Purpose has provided lasting solutions to rural poverty through a community development approach that integrates reforestation, sustainable agriculture programs, economic opportunity through microfinance, and local leadership development. Plant With Purpose currently works in more than 590 communities in seven countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, and Thailand. The organization has planted over 23 million trees worldwide.

For interviews, inquiries, or additional information on Plant With Purpose, including videos or photos, please contact Philippe Lazaro.

Contact: Philippe Lazaro
Marketing Specialist
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