Go to main content

Hurricane Irma: Handicap International on standby in Haiti

Emergency
Haiti

Hurricane Irma could make landfall in Haiti late on Thursday 7th September. Already present in Haiti, Handicap International’s teams are on high alert as they prepare to respond to the disaster.

Archive photo: A house destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, October 2016

Archive photo: A house destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, October 2016 | © B.Almeras/Handicap International

We’re ready to launch a response to the hurricane, which could have disastrous consequences for the local population,” explains Catherine Stubbe, director of Handicap International in Haiti.

“The hurricane is expected to cause strong winds and heavy rainfall, so the impact is likely to be very serious. Many families live in makeshift shelters, in isolated mountainous regions that are difficult to access, or on the seashore. In the event of flooding, they will have to fend for themselves until the emergency services manage to reach them.

A category 5 hurricane, the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson scale, Irma made landfall this Wednesday in the Caribbean islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, and is now heading towards Haiti and Cuba. With gusts reaching 360 kilometres per hour, this is the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Atlantic, and is more powerful than Hurricane Harvey which recently tore through Texas and Louisiana.

 “According to meteorologists, the Nord, Nord-Ouest and Upper Artibonite departments of Haiti are most likely to be affected. Even if the hurricane stays out at sea, violent wind and heavy rain could cause serious damage. Everyone here remembers the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti last October,” adds Catherine Stubbe.

The country has already been weakened by a series of disasters, and the emergency services were quickly overwhelmed.” 

We are already in contact with the authorities and other NGOs in preparation for a possible response. And we’re preparing to travel to affected areas once the alert has been lifted, to assess the situation with our Haitian partners. We are also working to ensure our teams are sheltered from the hurricane and ready to help victims after the storm has passed.

Present in the country since 2008, Handicap International launched a response to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and after the huge earthquake in 2010. With some thirty staff members in the country, Handicap International implements natural disaster risk reduction projects in association with the Civil protection department in several of the country’s regions.

Where we work

Read more

Second major cyclone ravages Mozambique
© C.Briade / HI (IMAGE ARCHVIES avril 2019)
Emergency

Second major cyclone ravages Mozambique

Mozambique is still reeling from the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai 6 weeks ago but has not been spared from further disaster. Cyclone Kenneth struck the north of the country yesterday. 

HI continues to assist victims four years after the earthquake in Nepal
© Elise Cartuyvels/HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

HI continues to assist victims four years after the earthquake in Nepal

Since Nepal was hit by an earthquake on 25th April 2015, Humanity & Inclusion has provided support to more than 25,000 disaster-affected people.

HI supports forgotten communities in the slums of Beira, Mozambique
© C.Briade / HI
Emergency

HI supports forgotten communities in the slums of Beira, Mozambique

Thousands of residents of Beira city live in poverty in densely packed slums. Their makeshift homes could not withstand the force or cyclone Idai. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is coordinating clean-up and reconstruction efforts for these hardest-hit communities.