September 8, 2008-New York, NY-With the impact of Hurricane Ike over the weekend, Haiti has been hit by four severe storms in less than four weeks. The most recent heavy flooding has killed another 50 people, pushing the death toll over the past month above 600 people.
In the town of Gonaives-much of which is now under water-200, 000 people have been stranded without food or drinking water for as many as four days. In total, nearly one million people, including 300, 000 children, have been affected by these storms.
Vivian Stromberg, MADRE Executive Director, said today, "Haiti is already reeling from the impacts of the global food crisis, with much of the population made vulnerable. These back-to-back storms only worsen an already life-threatening situation for women and their families, and the numbers of those killed and displaced give us a glimpse of that devastation."
In response to the crisis, MADRE has mobilized an emergency response. MADRE is working through two local partner organizations in Haiti: KOFAVIV, a women's support group in Port-au-Prince; and Zanmi Lasante, a community clinic serving people in Gonaives and Haiti's Central Plateau.
In the worst-affected areas of Haiti, bridges, roads, clinics, and homes have been washed away. With critical infrastructure destroyed, rescue workers cannot reach people in need.
In contrast, MADRE's partners are already on the ground in areas hard-hit by these storms. They know who the most vulnerable people in the community are and how to reach them in chaotic flood conditions. The strong, pre-existing social networks created by these local groups are a critical resource in today's disaster relief. Furthermore, working through a women's organization helps ensure that aid reaches children and other vulnerable community members. By collaborating with local organizations, MADRE is able to get urgent aid into the hands of people who need it most.
MADRE is collecting donations for plastic sheeting, food aid, water jugs, broad-spectrum antibiotics, water treatment to prevent cholera outbreaks and other emergency relief. For more information, visit www.madre.org.