Santo Domingo, 10 July 2020 – At the end of June, the IFRC was able to send relief items from the Dominican Republic to Haiti through a humanitarian corridor. The operation, activated in the context of the COVID-19 response, will benefit 2,000 vulnerable people in Haiti.
Together with the Haiti Red Cross, the Dominican Red Cross, the World Food Programme (WFP) and with funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and from the Belgian government, the IFRC developed a logistics model to respond quickly to emergencies in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti. The model is part of a wider strategy to create “Humanitarian Corridors of the Caribbean” and preposition stocks of essential supplies – such as hygiene kits, shelter kits, tarpaulins, jerry cans – which can be moved immediately after an emergency in the region, particularly during the hurricane season.
Thanks to the support of the Dominican Red Cross, the IFRC was able to stock emergency items in the Dominican Republic and send them to Haiti to respond to the urgent needs of vulnerable people. On 26 June 2020, 400 hygiene kits were delivered in Port-au-Prince to support the stay-at-home policy in the country, as part of the COVID-19 response, benefitting a total of 2,000 people.
The President of the Haitian Red Cross, Dr. Jean-Pierre Guiteau, said: “Since 2019, given the deteriorating security situation in Haiti as a result of socio-political tensions, we had been thinking about a humanitarian corridor that would allow transport of humanitarian supplies and could facilitate the urgent evacuation of patients requiring treatment that is not available in Haiti. Since then – together with the President of the Dominican Red Cross, as well as IFRC and UN representatives – we further developed the idea, which resulted into concrete actions taken during the coronavirus crisis. The IFRC was able to send us hygiene kits using this corridor. The humanitarian corridor is definitely a very useful tool, to be perfected and endorsed by Haiti and the Dominican Republic for the benefit of both countries during emergencies.”
Raphael Hamoir, Disaster Management Coordinator for the IFRC and in charge of operations in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, said: “This operation is rather small in terms of the size of the delivery, but it’s significant in terms of partnerships. Thanks to bi-national support from the Haiti Red Cross and the Dominican Red Cross, and thanks to our collaboration with WFP, we were able to move stocks from the Dominican Republic to Haiti and help vulnerable families, in the context of the COVID-19 response.”
The model was developed over the years as part of disaster preparedness plans, but was activated during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID-19, it would take just one hurricane making landfall to create a very difficult situation in the Caribbean. With established and functional humanitarian corridors, we are increasing the number of options to get help where it is needed”, Raphael Hamoir added.