The Latest on CARE's Response to Hurricane Sandy in Haiti


Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic storm ever recorded. Americans understandably view is it as an American emergency as the storm left 131 Americans dead and did tens of billions of dollars in damages to some of the most populated parts of the country.

The Latest on CARE's Response to Hurricane Sandy in Haiti image 1
Flooding in Léogâne © 2012 CARE

Before hitting the U.S., however, Sandy inflicted severe damage in the Caribbean. Worst-hit was Haiti, where the storm affected 1.8 million people, or nearly 1/5 of the country's total population. CARE's staff in Haiti reports the storm flooded 18,000 homes and forced more than 21,000 people into evacuation shelters.

Although the storm is long-gone, the worst of Sandy's impact in Haiti may be yet to come. Torrential rainfall during the storm and in the weeks since have devastated Haiti's agriculture sector. According to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 42 percent of Haiti's corn crop, 30 percent of its rice crop and 20 percent of its bean crop have been destroyed. 1.2 million Haitians are vulnerable to immediate food insecurity and an even larger potential crisis looms because the crops destroyed in the ground last month made up a substantial proportion of Haiti's 2013 projected harvest.

Sandy was a powerful reminder of Haiti's vulnerability to environmental change. According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Haiti ranks highest among 200 countries for risk of vulnerability to climate change in terms of potential floods and mudslides. As Haiti will continue to face natural disasters that destroy people's lives and livelihoods, CARE recognizes the urgent need to advocate for long-term development in Haiti while striving to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction activities into all of its programming.

In addition to our long-term work in Haiti, CARE is responding to the storm with water, sanitation and shelter initiatives that have reached 2,300 families, or approximately 12,000 people. In Grande Anse, CARE has distributed 252 hygiene and shelter kits. CARE has also received initial approval from USAID for an eight-month extension of its food voucher program in Grand Anse which provides nutritional foods to 12,000 families in 9 communities.

In Léogâne CARE has distributed 400 boxes of water purification tablets, 1,600 oral rehydration solution packets used to treat dehydration from severe diarrhea and 451 leaflets and posters on the prevention of diarrhea and related illnesses. The team distributing them also provided training on strengthening existing shelters, safety and cholera prevention. As part of on-going water and sanitation program in Carrefour, CARE is building latrines and outdoor shower facilities, some of which were damaged by Sandy.