Tuesday 04 December 2012
ShelterBox collaborates in Haiti to help displaced familiesAround 18,000 homes were flooded, damaged or destroyed in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy, according to the United Nations (UN).
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is returning from Haiti after two weeks of assessing the need for, and working with partners to distribute, emergency shelter and other aid across the country.
In collaboration with Handicap International, SRT members James Webb (UK) and Josh Mohr (US) recently travelled to Fond Verrettes, an area near the Dominican Republic border, where an entire town was covered in rubble after flash floods from Hurricane Sandy tore it apart.
"The damage caused was unimaginable," Webb said. "The lower level of the town was under at least a foot of rubble, resulting in hundreds of homes being destroyed or damaged."
The SRT met with members of the community who were left with no homes to return to after evacuating to a local shelter when the hurricane hit.
A valuable partnership
The team also worked with Handicap International to distribute aid in Babaco, a community near Ganthier that had also been hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy's most impacted areas were low-lying communities in western Haiti that were still recovering from damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaac in August.
"Our partnership with Handicap International has been hugely valuable," Webb explained. "We've worked with them several times since the 2010 earthquake and they had a number of boxes in storage, which together, we distributed to families identified as vulnerable in Babaco."
Handicap International distributed a number of items to the community, including water purification tablets, hygiene kits and ShelterBoxes, which the team demonstrated to the families.
While in Babaco, the SRT met with a community representative, Banave Simeon.
"When the water was moving, we heard someone crying out for help," Simeon said. "When we arrived at their home, everything was gone."
Somewhere to call their own
Webb explained that the families had been living in cramped conditions in the local school.
"ShelterBox tents will provide them with somewhere to call their own while they start to rebuild their lives," Webb said.
Handicap International will continue to distribute more ShelterBoxes over the next several weeks.