Washington, D.C (August 30, 2012) – Nearly 1,400 homes and over 1,500 tents were damaged during Tropical Storm Isaac in six Urban Intervention Zones in Port-au-Prince where the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) has been working, according to an assessment conducted by PADF this week. Flooding also left more than 20,000 families without clothing, bedding, and home furnishings, and contaminated many water sources, increasing the risk of new outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea.
“These problems can be resolved as long as we fix them fast,” said Kerline Pierre Rock, director of PADF’s Urban Community Development Project (PRODEPUR). Rock, who has previously served as a lead on PADF’s disaster response in past hurricanes and in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, has seen the difference a fast response can make.
“Time is of the essence,” she explains. “The thing with problems like water contamination, safe shelter, and disease is that they have a tendency to become exacerbated when left untreated. Alternatively, a quick and targeted intervention can mean the difference between an effective response to an immediate crisis and a drawn-out, lingering epidemic.”
In addition, hundreds of homes in the Sud-Est Department were destroyed and thousands of livestock died in the communes of Marigot, Bainet, and Belle-Anse. Swelled river waters stalled efforts to deliver provision to Belle-Anse. Meanwhile, PADF’s extensive network of partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the the Haitian Government, and local community groups have been mobilized and are delivering aid.
PADF has identified the following immediate needs: hygiene kits, food kits (sugar, milk, spaghetti, oil, rice, and matches), and cooking kits (plates, cups, and utensils). More broadly, there will be a need for reparations of houses and roads, cleaning/reparation of draining canals, debris removal, and crop damage evaluations as Haiti is in the middle of its corn and beans planting season.
Friends of Haiti Group Meeting in Washington D.C.
Meanwhile in Washington D.C., representatives of Foreign Missions from countries across the Western Hemisphere met today at the Headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) to assess the damage to Haiti following the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac, the OAS reported in a statement today.
The meeting, convened by the Chairman of the Haiti Task Force, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin and Vice Chairman of PADF’s Board of Trustees, also brought together representatives of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Several European Observer States were also present.
According to Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, who addressed the Group following direct conversations with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, the meeting was convened to seek specific support for the agriculture and livestock sectors, which have been hit hard by the storm. Preliminary reports presented at the meeting indicate that over 81,000 hectares (200,155 acres) under cultivation have been damaged, including crops of bananas, coffee, avocado and citrus. Initial assessments also indicate approximately USD $242 million worth of damage to Haiti’s agriculture and agricultural infrastructure.
Governments of several OAS Member States, including the neighboring Dominican Republic have begun to mobilize support. Representatives of the Dominican Republic informed the meeting that mobile food units have been sent across the border to provide meals to tens of thousands of people who have been affected by the storm. Other Member States have pledged to facilitate and coordinate the movement of heavy agricultural equipment to replant crops.
In expressing condolences to the people of Haiti following the loss of life, OAS Assistant Secretary General Ramdin called on the international community to mobilize more support for the permanent relocation of over 400,000 people living in tent cities.
“The dismantling of tent cities is a priority. So far the combined efforts of the government and international partners have led to a decrease in the number of people living in tents, from 1.5 million to 400,000, but there is still a long way to go. International financial institutions in particular must continue to work with other stakeholders and the government to source support for this priority,” added Ramdin.
The OAS Assistant Secretary General also recognized the significant efforts by the Government of Haiti to evacuate close to 15,000 people from communities at risk including those living in tent cities, prior to the storm. “This is the first time an evacuation of this scale has been carried out, and so quickly. The government of Haiti moved swiftly to prevent a disaster of an even greater magnitude. We must continue to provide support. It’s a long term commitment,” Ramdin added.
To help PADF provide immediate assistance to affected communities, go towww.padf.org/donate. You can also contribute by calling toll-free at 877.572.4484.
PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integrated 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 2011, it helped more than 7.5 million persons in 23 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and other countries. www.padf.org
About the OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, which was held in Washington, D.C. from October 1889 to April 1890. Today, it is comprised of 34 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean. The Pan American Development Foundation, which was created in 1962, is an affiliate of the OAS. www.oas.org
Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs