Hurricane Irma | Donate
Please help support those impacted by Hurricane Irma today. The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic has caused widespread damage in the already vulnerable islands of the Caribbean, with as many as three million people expected to be affected by the disaster in Haiti alone.
Oxfam staff on the ground in Haiti have reported damage to water and sanitation facilities across the country, increasing the risk of the spread of diseases like cholera.
The Haitian government has prepared 793 temporary shelters across seven departments and, together with Oxfam and other agencies, is trying to move as many people as possible away from the coast.
Oxfam’s team is assisting with the evacuation in Cap Haitien – Haiti’s second largest city, with a population of 280,000 – as people in coastal areas flee inland to schools and public buildings in preparation for the worst of Hurricane Irma today and tomorrow.
Oxfam spokesperson Tania Escamilla said although the mood was calm, the potential for destruction was concerning with so many people still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Matthew.
“I get the sense that people here are used to hurricanes and no one seems frantically scared, but I’ve heard from many that some areas of the country haven’t even fully recovered from Hurricane Matthew last year – and now they’re facing this,” Escamilla said.
“We fear that half-a-million people could be affected even in the best-case scenario – or as many as 3 million in the worst”.
In Haiti, Oxfam has moved emergency aid into five locations across the country, three of which are in northern areas that will be the most exposed to the hurricane’s impact. Already four teams, made up of five or more specialists in emergencies, have been mobilised in Cap-Haitien, Ouanaminthe, Anse-Rouge and Gonaives. Oxfam also has nine cholera response teams now prepared to deploy.
Oxfam teams in Dominican Republic and Cuba are also preparing to respond. Oxfam has worked in the Caribbean region for over 30 years and has expert teams in providing safe water and carrying out sanitation and hygiene work for those people most vulnerable after an emergency strikes.