World Vision warns of destruction of on most vulnerable communities

08 Sep 2017 by World Vision New Zealand
World Vision warns of destruction of on most vulnerable communities
People in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are trying to secure their “shockingly poor” homes ahead of Hurricane Irma.

World Vision has been partnering with local governments to ready communities, with prepositioned stocks of jerry cans, blankets, mosquito nets, and water filters to distribute. 

John Hasse, World Vision’s regional leader for Latin America, said the poorest people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic live in very vulnerable homes.

“These are often little more than shacks made of tin, wood and cinder block and very often sited in shanty towns, near rivers and on steep mountainsides,” he said.

“They are fragile structures are extremely vulnerable to the high winds, floods and mudslides that Hurricane Irma will almost certainly bring.”

He said this was going to be one of the largest hurricanes to ever have hit the island. 

“We are deeply worried for what will happen to children and their families…previous natural disasters have killed hundreds or even thousands of people,” said Mr Hasse.

“In Haiti in particular, there are large numbers of people who will find it difficult to find a safe place to hunker down. Homes, bridges, roads and other infrastructure is likely to collapse under rising floodwaters and crops will be destroyed.”

Mr Hasse said Haiti was particularly vulnerable to disasters, such as droughts, storms, and earthquakes, which set development back, and make it very hard for people to survive, recover, then thrive.

“The hurricane is approaching and there is a sense of uncertainty at what this superstorm will bring,” he said. 

“People are trying to secure their homes and prepare as best they can. The government is warning people to find a safe place to hibernate and to make sure they have emergency food and water available.” 

Mr Hasse said the government, emergency services and aid agencies were all doing their bit to prepare people for the worst and to assist when the time comes.

Chloe Irvine, Head of External Affairs, World Vision New Zealand  |  ​+64 22 340 4271