Published On: Sat, Sep 15th, 2018

New funding from ECHO key to new relief efforts for hurricane victims in Haiti, Caribbean

With peak hurricane season arriving in early September, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Haiti is intensifying its emergency preparedness capacity thanks to additional funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

The new funding provided by ECHO will allow IOM to have ready for distribution hygiene and kitchen items for 2,500 vulnerable families as well as home repair materials. This stock will total 12,500 kits, added to the relief items previously donated by the US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

For the vulnerable Caribbean nation of Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, hurricane preparedness remains more critical than ever. It only takes one major storm to decimate the island for months, sometimes causing irreparable damage as witnessed in the agriculture sector following the passage of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“Thanks to this new grant from ECHO, IOM will preposition additional non-food item (NFI) stocks in Port-au-Prince and in the regions. IOM has a long-lasting experience in emergency response in Haiti; we are prepared,” said Bernard Lami, Head of Operations for the UN Migration Agency in Haiti.

Hurricane Isaac NASA photo

With the funds provided by the European Union, IOM will also renew the response capacities of the Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) in warehouse maintenance management as well as emergency preparedness and response and bolster the DPC ability to provide emergency support to its Caribbean neighbours following a storm.

“This week as multiple storms entered the Caribbean basin, we remain prepared for the worst while hoping for the best scenario,” said Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Haiti’s Chief of Mission. “Thanks to our strong partnership with Haitian authorities, ECHO and IOM are ready to deploy NFIs across the country as well as to neighbouring Caribbean countries for an immediate response,” he added.

To further support the government’s preparedness capacity building, IOM staff also participated in the SIMEX exercise which took place on 2-3 August 2018 and simulated the passage of a Category 4 storm named Hurricane Peter. This year, the SIMEX exercise occurred throughout seven sites across Haiti.

In preparation for the peak of the hurricane season, the Government of Haiti and UN agencies will apply the lessons learned from the SIMEX exercise and remain on high alert until the season ends on 30 November 2018.

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