Aux Cayes, Haiti (October 26, 2012) - While Hurricane Sandy threatens to strike the U.S. East Coast, in Haiti the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is coordinating relief efforts with local and national partners to assist some of the hardest hit communities that were affected by Sandy this week, which caused some 5,600 people to be evacuated and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.
“The damage is devastating,” says André Nicolas, a Haitian agronomist and PADF Haiti’s Director of Programs in the Grand South, where the storm hit the hardest. “We have families whose homes have been reduced to nothing but a pile of debris, and children who have lost all of their belongings.”
Nadia Cherrouk, PADF Country Director in Haiti emphasizes the need for an immediate response. “The first 72 hours after a hurricane are the most critical for an intervention. What we do now will determine whether this is a short-term emergency or a long-term disaster.
PADF is working closely with the local civil protection committees (OPC) and the government’s National Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) to mount a rapid response for those in the most critical conditions. Water and shelter are vital priorities, and PADF is using its extensive network of more than 2,000 community-based organizations, 30 municipal councils, and local and national partners to mobilize and distribute aid as quickly as possible.
“Donations are needed and are of vital importance,” Cherrouk emphasizes. “As little as $5 can feed a family, provide water, or contribute to providing shelter for victims of the Hurricane.”
To help PADF provide immediate assistance to affected communities, go to www.padf.org/donate-disasters. You can also contribute by calling toll-free at 877.572.4484.
Meanwhile, PADF continues to assist victims of Tropical Storm Isaac, which struck Haiti in August, destroying homes and causing widespread flooding. In the aftermath of that disaster, PADF was the first non-governmental organization (NGO) on the scene. Although the Foundation initially delivered much needed emergency aid such as water and hygiene relief supplies, it also moved to assist residents of Southeastern Haiti whose homes and belonging had been destroyed. PADF delivered home repairs materials, including wood and metal roofing materials, to affected families.
Fifty-year old Point Du Jour remembers the day the storm hit: “The storm just ripped the roof right off of my house. I sleep in a small corner of the room where I can cover myself from the rain,” he explains. “I want to put a roof over my head, but the materials are too expensive and I have no means to afford them.”
“We realized that providing home repair materials to the stricken residents would be the most effective way to respond to the disaster,” says Nicolas. “PADF has always believed in the power of communities to be the own drivers of their development. We quickly got numbers and needs from our regional offices in the Southeast, and developed distribution points for the communities to come and collect building materials.”
The communities organized quickly, and soon residents in the severely affected villages of Marigot and Bainet were able to get the necessary tools to not only repair their homes, but to better protect themselves from future disasters.
“As soon as I get home I’m putting up my new roof,” Point Du Jour emphasizes at the PADF-collection point in Bainet. “Without this support, I don’t know how I would have been able to fix my home.”
PADF has been active in Haiti for over 30 years, and has responded to many disasters. In addition, PADF has consistently worked to improve the lives and livelihoods of the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, it helped 9 million people in 29 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and other countries. www.padf.org
Nadia Cherrouk, Country Director, +509.3702.9854