ShelterBox Aid Team arrives in Haiti
9 October 2016
ShelterBox, the international emergency shelter experts, is sending aid and a response team to Haiti in the wake of the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade
ShelterBox already has some aid stored in Haiti and large stocks of aid in Panama, ready to assist during the hurricane season. With airports closed, some of this aid has already been dispatched from Curacao aboard the Dutch Navy vessel HMNS Holland. The aid includes water filtration equipment which will be vital given the flooding, solar lighting to assist during electricity black outs, and blankets for warmth.
A ShelterBox response team has now arrived in Haiti from the UK, USA, Canada and NZ, to assess damage and need. The team includes volunteers, one of whom, Mike Peachey, is a Fireman from Hastings in New Zealand.
Operations Team Lead Andrew Clark says, ‘The situation is still very fluid. We are still awaiting an official invitation to respond from the Haitian Government, and clarity on the most effective and safe transport routes. But we are impatient to help the people of Haiti who have yet again faced a terrifying natural disaster.’
‘The intention is that I will lead an experienced team of nine, some of whom deployed to Haitifollowing the quake in 2010. ‘ShelterBox is also standing by to help other countries along Matthew’s expected course.’
The death toll has risen to and is expected to rise as the extent of damage emerges. In the port town of Les Cayes an estimated 70,000 people were affected by flooding, and many of the area’s insubstantial houses had lost roofs. The UN said that Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, was facing the ‘largest humanitarian event’ since the earthquake in 2010.
With advance warnings at least 10,000 people were evacuated to shelters, but the UN has since reported overcrowded hospitals and fresh water shortages, with fears of waterborne disease. An estimated four million children may have been exposed to hurricane damage.
Meteorologists expect Hurricane Matthew to become less forceful as it moves on from Cuba later today, but precautions are being taken already in Florida, the Bahamas, and along the eastern seaboard of the USA. Current tracking indicates the storm may reach Maryland and New Jersey as late as noon on Sunday.
Note to editors
• People can donate to ShelterBox online at www.givealittle.co.nz/donate/org/shelterbox