The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched anemergency appeal for 6.8 million Swiss francs ($6.9 million) to provide medical, shelter, water and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people in the storm-ravaged southwest of Haiti.
One of the strongest hurricane’s to hit the Caribbean in recent history, Matthew’s torrential rains and winds have flooded towns and roads, destroyed homes and buildings and collapsed the main bridge to the south, making the worst affected areas extremely difficult to reach.
More than one million have been affected and hundreds of thousands are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“This vulnerable nation has been hit again by a huge disaster that requires substantial international support,” says Ines Brill, IFRC head of delegation in the Latin Caribbean. “Our teams in Jeremie report massive destruction in the town. Water and electricity have been cut and the medical services are not functioning anymore. Communication is very limited. We are extremely concerned for the safety, health and well-being of the women, men and children who have been impacted, particularly those in remote towns and villages.”
In the lead up to the storm, IFRC used its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the Haitian Red Cross in pre-positioning emergency relief supplies, including plastic sheets, blankets, kitchen sets and water purification tablets, and mobilizing over 3,000 staff and volunteers in communities in the path of the hurricane.
The emergency appeal will fund first aid and emergency health care, psychosocial support, treatment of water, sanitation assistance, cleaning and personal hygiene items, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and other disease prevention and control activities. The funding will also be used to help people with damaged or destroyed homes, providing them with materials and tools to build emergency shelter and make basic repairs to their houses.
“After a major disaster like this, we know the need for clean water, emergency shelter, health care and adequate sanitation will be significant,” says Walter Cotte, IFRC’s regional Director for the Americas. “This appeal will ensure that the Red Cross can help meet those needs. With this appeals Haiti Red Cross will be able to exercise its auxiliary role supporting its government in the emergency response and recovery actions.”
The Haiti Red Cross is coordinating relief efforts closely with the Haitian government and planning assessments to capture the full extent of damage and humanitarian need.
Red Cross response teams in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas and the United States have also been mobilized to provide assistance as the powerful storm tears through the region and moves north.