NGO News Desk :: 28 August 2012: Plan is mounting an emergency response to meet the urgent needs of Haitians affected by Tropical Storm Isaac, which left a trail of destruction as it made landfall on Friday night.
About 400,000 homeless people are still living in makeshift camps in the country since the 2010 earthquake. They are among those who have been most affected. Strong winds and further rainfall are forecasted to cause further suffering.
“Our priority is children. They are most vulnerable during emergency and therefore need special attention,” said John Chaloner, Plan’s country director in Haiti.
“Our response will focus on life-saving needs such as clean water and food as well as safety and security and protection for children.”
Plan is deploying specialists to assess needs of storm affected children.
With heavy rains and flooding there are additional concerns for water borne diseases and potential public health emergencies such as cholera.
Plan will be distributing relief items stockpiled in its warehouses to people living in temporary shelters. The organisation is working in close coordination with the government’s Emergency Operations Centres.
Plan works in communities in 9 districts, including Jacmel, where the storm had a big impact. Some 2,437 people have been moved to temporary shelters in Jacmel and 3,000 in the other communes of the department of Croix-des-Bouquets, according to national authorities.
A CAD (Centre d’Action pour le Developpement), which Plan supports, has been severely affected by the storm.
Plan is working in close collaboration with national and local authorities, as well as UN and international aid agencies.
“Working together in coordination with others is a key lesson we have learnt from the past disasters,” said Dr Unni Krishnan, Plan’s head of disaster response and preparedness.
“Disasters affect children disproportionately and meeting their needs and protecting their rights are paramount in humanitarian situations.”
Since 1973, Plan has been working with Haitian communities to improve the lives of children and their families. Plan’s programmes focus on education, healthcare, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction initiatives, and the participation of children and young people in child rights campaigns.
In neighbouring Dominican Republic, also partially affected by the storm, Plan has put active monitoring and preparedness measures in place. Plan runs several disaster risk reduction and preparedness projects in both countries.