Tropical Storm Isaac made landfall over Haiti early Saturday, bringing sustained winds of 60mph and heavy rainfall to vulnerable communities both inland and near the coast.
More than 2,300 volunteers have been mobilized by the Haitian Red Cross and shortly after the winds died down, Red Cross teams were enroute to camps to assess damage and community needs. Tarps and temporary shelter materials, as well as hygiene supplies for up to 22,000 are ready to be distributed once assessments are complete.
“Now that the storm has passed, we will go back and check on the projects in the camps we’ve worked in to make sure there is not any major damage,” said Sinan Al-Najjar, deputy country representative for the American Red Cross in Haiti. “If any of the projects, like the drainage canals or reinforced hillsides are damaged, we will repair them.”
Prior to Isaac’s landfall, Red Cross teams visited camps where it supports Community Based Disaster Response Teams – whose member live within the communities they serve and therefore have better access to spread information quickly – to ensure that timely preparedness information was distributed and first aid supplies were restocked.
“Our community response teams supported the Haitian government to disseminate information and to help guide evacuated communities to safety,” said Sandrine Capelle Manuel, country representative for the American Red Cross in Haiti.
In addition to supporting evacuation efforts, response teams verified that early warning systems were in use and residents were aware of the approaching storm. In addition, early warning information distributed through 200,000 SMS text message and Radyo Kwa Rouj (Radio Red Cross).
Red Cross programs continue to target vulnerable populations – including those remaining in camps – and are also ready to respond to the potential for increased cholera risk following the heavy rains.