Go to main content

Hurricane Irma in Haiti: “We’re worried about the most vulnerable people”

Emergency
Haiti

Within the last few hours, several Caribbean islands, including Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, have been hit by hurricane Irma, causing extensive damage. The hurricane is now moving towards the north of Haiti. Present in the country, Handicap International’s (HI) teams are concerned for the welfare of the most vulnerable people, who have very limited means to protect themselves.

Satellite view of the hurricane Iram with a 300km radius

Satellite view of the hurricane Iram with a 300km radius | Handicap International

Irma, a category 5 hurricane, which severely affected several Caribbean islands, including Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, on Wednesday, is currently moving north of Puerto Rico and could make landfall in northern Haiti and Cuba within hours. Handicap International (HI), present in Haiti since 2008, is concerned for the welfare of the most vulnerable individuals, who are unable to protect themselves from the hurricane, and who live in isolated areas or on the coast, often in fragile makeshift shelters.

“You don’t get used to disasters”

According to Catherine Stubbe, the head of HI’s operations in Haiti: “The local radio stations are regularly advising people to cut tree branches close to their homes, to wrap documents in plastic covers, and above all, to stay together; not to go off by themselves. Haiti is on high alert and schools are closed until Friday. Although natural disasters are common in Haiti, you don’t get used to it. It only makes people even more vulnerable. There are few natural obstacles, very few trees, in particular, to act as a buffer against heavy rain or flooding, and we’re concerned about the welfare of the most vulnerable people. Many live in isolated areas, where they don’t have easy access to information, or are unable to take shelter.”

HI’s teams have been mobilised to provide an immediate response in aid of people affected by the disaster. The organisation is already in contact with the authorities and is preparing to travel to affected areas once the alert has been lifted. Our teams will then start assessing the situation with Haitian partners. HI has also ensured that its teams are safe.

Present in the country since 2008, HI launched a response to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and after the earthquake of 2010. With some thirty staff members in the country, HI implements natural disaster risk reduction projects in association with the Civil protection department in several of the country’s departments.

                                                                                

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugees brace for rain and cyclones
© E.Pajot/ HI

Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugees brace for rain and cyclones

The largest refugee camp in the world is built on tree-stripped hills in a flood-prone area of southern Bangladesh. With annual rains expected to arrive in April and the threat of cyclones looming, HI staff in the camps are extremely concerned about the impact of flooding and landslides on the most vulnerable.

Aid by air in Central African Republic
© Paul Lorgerie/HI

Aid by air in Central African Republic

In 2017, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) made it possible to transport 8,590 tonnes of goods to some of the most isolated corners of Central African Republic, a country that has been devastated by decades of violence and instability. 

Humanity & Inclusion condemns unending bombardment of besieged Eastern Ghouta

Humanity & Inclusion condemns unending bombardment of besieged Eastern Ghouta

The extreme escalation of bombardment in the besieged area of Eastern Ghouta in the past 72 hours has caused more than 200 civilian deaths and extensive damage to infrastructure—particularly hospitals, clinics, and shelters where civilians are taking refuge. 390,000 civilians are besieged under heavy shelling, airstrikes, and barrel bomb attacks in the enclave of Eastern Ghouta, with dwindling water, food, and medical supplies.