VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Hurricane Sandy: Help for refugees in the U.S.
November 13, 2012 by The IRC
|Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012: With winds of 90 mph and heavy rains, the storm created dangerous flooding conditions all along the northeastern United States. Photo: NOAA|
The International Rescue Committee continues its emergency relief efforts in Haiti to assist some of the most vulnerable people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Now we are also providing help to affected refugee communities in the United States.
From New York to Miami, many refugees served by the IRC’s east coast offices have suffered a serious financial blow from the megastorm. These newly arrived refugees frequently have manufacturing or service industry jobs and receive hourly wages. If they can’t get to work, they don’t get paid. But disruption of mass transit systems is making it impossible for many of them to reach their place of employment. And in other cases, infrastructure damage and power outages have forced their employers to close their doors until repairs can be made.
Recently resettled refugee families often rely on resources provided by a single wage earner; average salaries are about $200 per week. Loss of nearly a week’s pay from an already modest income is an enormous setback for families starting over in the United States who have no savings or resources to speak of. To help these families whose income has been disrupted, the IRC will provide cash assistance so they can meet their monthly expenses. Caseworkers from IRC offices in affected areas are reaching out to recently resettled refugee families to ensure that they are not suffering financially in the aftermath of the storm.
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