Updated emergency appeal: Hurricane Sandy 2012 (Caribbean)

December 12, 2012


Recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy continue in Haiti and Cuba, two countries severely hit by the late October hurricane. Dozens were killed in the Caribbean by the storm, which crippled a number of affected areas. In Cuba, for example, more than 188,000 homes were damaged and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba was particularly devastated.

In Haiti, Sandy was viewed as far worse than Hurricane Isaac earlier this year, with devastating flooding, including northwest Haiti, where CWS has supported the work of agricultural cooperatives. Severe flooding from Sandy in Haiti damaged and blocked infrastructure/roads, damaged/destroyed houses, caused loss of livestock and severe damage to agricultural fields.

Of particular concern in Haiti is the pressure put on a country still recovering from the devastating January 2010 earthquake, with food security particularly threatened, given the extent of damage already occurring during Isaac’s landfall in August. “Children go to school hungry and weak,” said CWS program officer Margot de Greef, based in Haiti, after a recent visit to the food cooperatives in northwest Haiti which CWS supports.

Livelihoods in highly vulnerable rural areas have been lost, and the affected communities have limited capacity to recover without external support, the ACT Alliance reports.

CWS response:

++ HAITI: More specifics about assessment of needs and the planned response by one of our CWS partners in Haiti, the Christian Center for Integrated Development (known by the Haitian Creole acronym SKDE), is still being developed. But Margot de Greef said this following a recent assessment visit with Food Resource Bank to the affected region and the CWS-supported food co-ops:

  • The co-ops were clearly affected a lot by hurricane Sandy and explained how hard it has been for them to go through a drought and then two hurricanes. If (residents) had 100 Haiti gourdes (Haitian currency) before the hurricanes, then now they only have 50 left.
  • The wind blew down trees, damaged houses, blew away tin roofs, destroyed their harvests/gardens and killed their animals.  Animals died especially at the coops where they are tied (up outside)…. They don’t have enough safe shelter for people, let alone for animals, as they explained.
  • (Residents) explained how the drought first caused their crops to fail and then when it started to rain a little they planted new crops, which then were destroyed in the hurricanes. Now they don’t have any seeds anymore to plant again. Children go to school hungry and weak. In (affected area) Baie-de-Henne, they had to evacuate people due to the rising sea level, with the water invading people’s houses.”

In short, the recent assessment confirms that the co-operatives were severely damaged, with loss of buildings, gardens and livestock, SKDE reports. “These represent the bank account (or wealth) of the poorest,” said the Rev. Herode Guillomettre, who heads SKDE.

CWS is supporting initial efforts with $50,000, which will focus on re-establishing food security efforts in the co-ops.

++ CUBA: CWS is supporting $50,000 of the full ACT Alliance appeal of $450,000, with support going to assist with emergency family food packages and water provision as part of initial recovery efforts. Our long-time partner, the Cuban Council of Churches, has also identified shelter construction as a key priority. The CWS-supported response includes emergency relief to 210 families initially with food and water, and then supporting 1,000 families with psycho-social activities, shelter (reconstruction) and livelihood restoration.

Food security work will include supporting 210 families from the community of Rancho Cruz, with food distribution and then a second phase of restoring livelihoods through the provision of agricultural tools and seeds. Recovery of an irrigation system with the restoration of 10 acres of land with planting short-cycle crops will also occur.

In the area of shelter and settlement, the CWS-supported work will include selecting 145 houses in Rancho Cruz, which will be reinforced with the construction of steel columns embedded in concrete bases, girders and a covering of zinc aluminum being installed. In the community of Rondon, the project will provide the installation of a proper roof for 204 houses.  The project will be implemented by a mutually assisted- constructive process. Each working group will have masons, mechanics, welders and electricians.

CWS has also provided the CCC with a shipment of material goods that was in process before the hurricane. The shipment, valued at $176,490, includes 3,300 CWS Blankets; 9,000 CWS Hygiene Kits; 1,125 CWS Hygiene Kits; and 1,500 CWS School Kits.

TOTAL OF CUBA AND HAITI RESPONSE: $100,000. Further additions or expansions of this appeal are possible.

How to help:

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: HURRICANE SANDY APPEAL {CARIBBEAN} # 6766)

PLEASE NOTE: This appeal is separate from the US domestic Sandy appeal, which is # 627 W.

Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.