Ministers Flanagan and McHugh authorise airlift of emergency relief supplies to Haiti07 October 2016
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D. and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D. have announced that Ireland will provide humanitarian aid to Haiti in response to the devastating hurricane.
Haiti is the hardest hit country by Hurricane Matthew which has left a trail of destruction in its wake across the Caribbean and in Florida in recent days. The hurricane left at least 300 people dead in Haiti, a number that may rise as the authorities re-establish contact with regions cut off by the storm. Emergency relief operations, led by the Haitian Government, are hindered after the collapse of a bridge which cut off the only road linking Port-au-Prince to the southern Haiti peninsula.
Minister Flanagan said:
“The damage and destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in recent days is another devastating blow to communities previously affected by the earthquake in 2010. Initial rapid assessments indicate that over 350,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance and some 20,000 people have been displaced from their homes. There are increasing concerns that flooding will exacerbate pre-existing epidemics such as cholera, dengue fever and Zika. The death tolls continues to rise and we know that many thousands of people have lost their homes and possessions in the aftermath of the strongest storm to hit the region in a decade.
“We are monitoring the situation closely in coordination with our partners on the ground. Assessments of the damage and requirements are ongoing and Ireland is prepared to provide humanitarian assistance once a clearer picture of humanitarian needs has emerged. We will work with our NGO partners to respond appropriately.”
Minister McHugh added:
“Ireland has been a strong supporter of Haiti since the devastating earthquake of 2010, and the country has faced a number of disasters in recent years to which we have responded. Currently, we are working with our partners on the ground to get a sense of the priority needs which are likely to be shelter, water and sanitation and health.
“Irish Aid is currently arranging an airlift of emergency relief supplies into Haiti from Ireland’s pre-positioned stockpiles stored at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Panama City. These supplies, including tarpaulins and rope for shelter, blankets, soap and mosquito nets, as well as jerry cans and water tanks, will be distributed to 1,000 families in La Gonave by Concern Worldwide”.
7 October 2016
Notes to Editor:
- Irish Aid is the Government’s official development assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie
- In January 2010 Haiti was struck by one of the most devastating earthquakes in recent history, which killed more than 230,000 people, injured 300,000 others, and left 2.1 million homeless. Since then, the humanitarian context in Haiti has remained complex and fragile due to multiple inter-linked risk factors, notably a cholera crisis (16,822 cases between January and May 2016 and 1.35 million people indirectly affected), the food security situation due to the “El Niño” weather phenomenon (1.5 million people severely food insecure) and people still displaced from the 2010 earthquake (61,000 remain in camps). Natural hazards such as drought, flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes remain a real threat to the vulnerable communities.
- For the period of 2010-2015 Ireland has provided a total of €23.9 million in humanitarian and longer term development funding to Haiti. In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Ireland airlifted 130 tonnes of emergency supplies to Haiti for distribution to those most in need in addition to funding amounting to €13.9 million through a number of different partners working on the ground. A further €1.3m of humanitarian funding has been provided to respond to flooding and cholera in the country. In addition to this humanitarian support, Irish Aid provides longer-term development assistance to the Haitian people. Between 2010 and 2015, almost €8.7 million of Irish Aid funding was channelled through partners for long-term development interventions in Haiti.
- As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid pre-positions emergency and humanitarian relief items within UN Humanitarian Response Depots around the world. These depots are strategically located near disaster and crisis prone areas - in Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (UAE), Panama City (Panama) and Subang (Malaysia). An airlift to Haiti would in the first instance be done from the depot in Panama.
- So far in 2016, Irish Aid has airlifted 315 tonnes of emergency relief supplies into crises to meet the immediate needs of drought and flood affected families in Ethiopia, displaced and conflict affected families in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Niger, north eastern Nigeria, and in northern Iraq, working with NGO and UN partners.