– Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, struck the Dominican Republic and Haiti today with sustained winds of up to 295 km/h coupled with torrential rainfall. While the extent of damage is still being assessed, World Vision is deeply concerned about the impact of this powerful hurricane on children.
Haiti and Dominican Republic are among the poorest countries in Latin America with poor infrastructure, broken water systems and weak health care. Tens of thousands of children living in flimsy shacks are at risk of being damaged or destroyed by high winds, rains, flooding and mudslides. Potential hurricane-related damage to water and sanitation infrastructure also poses the additional threat of a larger cholera outbreak in affected areas, according to World Vision, Canada’s largest international aid agency.
World Vision is on the ground in Dominican Republic and Haiti positioned with food and hygiene kits ready for distribution to affected areas. Staff are also poised to help 122,000 people in Haiti with food, shelter, health and sanitation supplies. Relief efforts will focus on keeping tens of thousands of vulnerable children safe.
HOW CANADIANS CAN HELP:
Canadians can make donations to World Vision Canada to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
“This is the first time that northern Haiti has faced a storm of this scale. The coast floods easily during the regular rainy season, making this area especially vulnerable to Hurricane Irma. With many homes on hills, landslides are also a concern. The velocity of these winds means we are preparing for the worst. We fear this storm could affect thousands and thousands of people. The impact this might have on food security is also worrying because the northern part of the country is home to farms that supply food to much of the Haitian population.”
"World Vision is concerned that Hurricane Irma will overstress limited resources to respond, and will put more lives at risk from floods, landslides and water-borne diseases. Our teams on the ground are working as quickly as possible to position life-saving supplies, like food and water, for distribution. Hurricanes of this magnitude are especially frightening and traumatic for children, and we’re working to protect both their physical and psychosocial needs. Canadian support will be especially necessary for thousands of vulnerable children.
– Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada