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Haiti: Delivering aid to hard-to-reach communities is the key priority

by IFRC | International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Tuesday, 18 October 2016 18:41 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Port au Prince, 18 October 2016. Critical relief is starting to reach villages in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew, but the scale of devastation to roads and infrastructure continues to make aid deliveries to many remote communities extremely challenging.

Haiti Red Cross volunteers, with the support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), are steadily reaching more people every day with assistance and supplies. But many small inland and coastal communities in dire need of help are extremely difficult to reach.

"Infrastructure was already limited before the storm, said Colin Chaperon, IFRC Field Assessment and Coordination Team Leader. “Now many roads are impassable due to flooding and collapsed buildings and debris. Large trucks transporting relief items just cannot get through.”

Many of the ports and wharfs along the southwestern coast are also damaged or too small for the kinds of cargo vessels that would need to dock.

“We are working around the clock finding alternate ways to get emergency assistance to hard-to-reach communities,” Mr Chaperon said.

IFRC and the Haiti Red Cross have put in place a logistics supply chain that includes offloading more than 30 tonnes of newly arrived supplies from a large ship on to small boats (tenders) in order to reach isolated villages.

Haiti Red Cross volunteers are also walking long distances to access communities when they are unable to reach them by vehicle—and taking with them as many essential items as they can carry, such as food and hygiene kits.

“Our focus now is getting essential aid to remote communities which have not received assistance and ensuring they have the medical care they need, and clean water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to stop the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera,” said Mr Chaperon.

The IFRC has launched an appeal for 6.8 million Swiss francs (6.9 million US dollars) to provide medical, shelter, water and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people in the storm-ravaged southwest of Haiti. Donations can be made here to support the Haiti Red Cross Society emergency response.


Video footage of the logistics operation are available here. Information on relief items being delivered in Haiti is available here.

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