VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Update: Help for those affected by Hurricane Sandy
November 1, 2012 by The IRC
A message we sent to supporters this afternoon:
Dear IRC Supporter,
As we witness the destruction unleashed by Hurricane Sandy, our thoughts are with all those who are still in harm’s way. We hope you and your loved ones are safe. We would like to let you know what the International Rescue Committee is doing to help. While the IRC provides lifesaving care and assistance in 44 countries around the world and 22 cities in the United States, we typically do not respond to domestic emergencies. The U.S. is fortunate to have a strong network of highly resourceful first responders. We applaud their courageous efforts to restore safety and security to millions of people affected by the hurricane at home.
The IRC’s relief efforts focus on some of the most vulnerable people in the storm’s path in the Caribbean: displaced families and children in Haiti. Nearly three years after the devastating earthquake struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, many people still live in makeshift tent settlements in areas prone to flooding and mudslides. Soon after the winds died down, IRC’s staff conducted a rapid assessment at 100 affected camps where some 325,000 homeless people continue to live. Tents and other makeshift shelters were severely flooded; poorly maintained latrines were overflowing; and many families simply had nowhere else to go.
Within 24 hours IRC teams began distributing emergency supplies to affected residents. So far they’ve provided tarps, flashlights, water containers, mosquito nets and emergency supplies to 4, 200 storm victims. A huge concern in the wake of the hurricane is cholera -- the water-borne disease can kill within hours. The IRC is working closely with other emergency responders to monitor camps where cholera has been a problem in the past. So far health monitors have referred 50 suspected cases of cholera for medical care.
For camp residents who had barely recovered from the damage caused by Hurricane Isaac in August, this second storm delivered a devastating blow. But IRC country director Miriam Castaneda says many show remarkable strength. “There is still a lot of trauma,” she says. “But people here are extremely resilient.”
Thanks for your support and please take care.
The International Rescue Committee
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