UNICEF is providing initial assistance to 15,000 persons affected by the cumulative rains in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, 03 September 2008 – The United Nations Children’s Fund is stepping up its assistance to an initial 15,000 Haitians affected by heavy rains in the aftermath of successive storms which hit the country and caused significant damage in all departments, but this assistance is likely to increase in the coming days as emergency teams will reach inaccessible areas.
Preliminary information gathered already show that the extent of the damage caused by the rains over past days is more important than Hurricane Jeanne that devastated the city of Gonaives in 2004. The United Nations Country Team will launch a Flash Appeal in the coming days to respond to the cumulative effect of rains in Haiti.
Emergency supplies including 15,000 blankets, 12 water tanks, 5,000 hygiene kits, 20,000 water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts are being airlifted to the country. In addition, the World Food Programme and UNICEF have mobilized 7.5 metric tons of food and 60,000 liters of potable water ready to be transported by sea to the affected population in Gonaives. The people of this city have climbed on their roof tops to escape the flooding on the night of 1-2 September and have waited hours for rescues without food or water, lashed by rain. The water is expected to become stagnant which will lengthen the situation of emergency and increase the risk of waterborne diseases.
“This year’s hurricane season hits Haiti very hard,” said Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is extremely vulnerable to disastrous flash floods because most of its hillsides have been stripped of trees by people desperate for charcoal to use as cooking fuel. And the hurricane season is far from over, several storms have already hit the country, each of them aggravating the damage left by the previous one,” she added.
For further information
Louis-Etienne Vigneault-D., Communication Officer, UNICEF Haiti
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