Haiti: CARE provides clean water after Hurricane Sandy
Families in Haiti are struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath.
Although it did not directly touch Haiti, the country received an unprecedented level of rain. The heavy downpour continued for over 72 hours and resulted in severe flooding in the lowlands of the island. The destruction is widespread: Homes and crops are damaged; livestock died. Haiti is extremely mountainous, with only two percent of its original forest cover remaining, making it highly vulnerable to flooding and landslides.
The western regions of Grande Anse and Leogane, where CARE is currently active, were badly hit. According to an initial CARE field assessments, over 6,500 homes have been flooded, damaged or destroyed, with approximately 7,500 persons having been displaced. However, a complete overview is sketchy at best as access to many areas, particularly in the Grande Anse, is difficult. The main route is inundated in places with a key bridge destroyed and other routes are impassable by vehicles. Boats and airplanes are currently the only means to transport relief items quickly. Overall in the country, the Haitian National Emergency Center reports a total of 7,627 families (approximately 38,000 individuals) have been affected. Forty-four deaths are reported and at least 19 people were gravely injured
CARE Haiti is active in the Grand Anse and Leogane and had been preparing for a possible emergency response in these areas before the hurricane hit the country. The emergency team is now planning to support affected people with clean water as in many areas, water points have been damaged. This has left the population dependent on river water for consumption, which is not only dangerous due to its high levels, but also poses risk to cholera.
CARE has already been working in Grand Anse and will assist in distributing aqua tabs to purify water, soap and jerry cans. In order to provide clean water, CARE Haiti’s water and sanitation team may also install water bladders as needed. CARE will also assess current project sites and cholera treatment centres to determine the level of repair required to re-establish access to potable water and sanitation facilities.
In Leogane, especially in the areas of Saria and Bino, CARE is supporting other area organizations which have already response plans in place. In Saria and Bino, 300 families lost their homes and all possessions. CARE has more than 40 trained staff, including social mobilizers, water and sanitation experts, as well as engineers that are available to assist organizations carrying out emergency assistance.