Haiti Spared Fiona’s Wrath as Storm Unleashes ‘Catastrophic’ Flooding Elsewhere
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (September 19, 2022) Haiti largely escaped the brunt of Hurricane Fiona on Monday as it endured another day of continued violence, barricades blocking the streets and increasing food insecurity due to lack of movement in the country.
The nation has been in virtual lockdown for the past week due to civil unrest.
Fiona roared into the Dominican Republic early Monday after slamming into the southwest coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday with 85 mph winds, triggering what forecasters called catastrophic flash floods, mudslides and an island-wide blackout. Up to 30 inches of rain was possible along the coast of Puerto Rico.
Food For The Poor continues to assess the storm for potential flooding in northern Haiti and for what Puerto Rico might need.
While FFTP’s mission primarily is to serve internationally, the charity has responded in the past to catastrophic disasters in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Five years ago, FFTP responded in a significant way after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. That storm produced as much as 40 inches of rainfall and left nearly 3,000 people dead.
In the Dominican Republic, FFTP’s partners Caritas and Order of Malta are responding to families impacted by Fiona, with up to 15 inches of rain and flooding possible for eastern portions through early Tuesday. The charity has supplied disaster relief kits to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Each storm season, FFTP pre-positions the kits in the countries that are the most vulnerable to hurricanes to have them in place before a storm strikes. Each kit contains enough supplies to support 250 families in each country.
Meanwhile in Haiti, the charity’s offices have been closed since last Tuesday due to civil unrest as inflation has soared to record levels and gang violence has left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
“The people of Haiti are suffering mightily. We are monitoring this very carefully, doing everything we possibly can,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “The moment that we get the chance to do something, we will respond in a huge way just as we always have. People are starving to death. The humanitarian need is massive.”
Fearing Fiona’s floods and winds, many in Haiti rushed on Saturday to get water and supplies. News reports said thousands in Haiti faced water shortages after days of protest virtually halted the distribution of water.
Residents lined up get filtered water in one Port-au-Prince neighborhood where only two locations on the entire road were selling, said Mario Nicoleau, Executive Director FFTP-Haiti.
“Most people can’t go a mile away from their houses,” Nicoleau said. “Many barricades are still impassable and have been rebuilt.”
As soon as FFTP-Haiti’s offices can safely reopen, the charity plans to immediately distribute 10,000 bags of rice – equal to 25 tractor-trailer loads – together with food and other items through a network of 53 churches in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.
The charity’s headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla., is actively working to provide additional food for relief kits that could feed an average family of five for one week. As many as 30,000 families need immediate assistance.
Other actions include fixing the water and propane systems at Port-au-Prince’s main prison at the urgent request of the government. The prison has been unable to provide hot meals on a regular basis because of equipment problems.
Donors can help FFTP deliver aid to Haiti by making a cash donation. Go to: www.FoodForThePoor.org/haiticrisis.
FFTP has 400 team members in the country, two warehouses, 13 distribution centers and close to 4,000 distribution end points. Working in Haiti for 37 years, the charity is uniquely positioned to get work done as the Caribbean nation is facing some of the most severe economic challenges it has ever experienced.
“Our prayers are absolutely needed,” Raine said. “We exist to help in times like this. And so as distressing as it is to be a witness to this catastrophe, we are equally energized by the opportunity and to make sure that we dig deep within ourselves to carry the mantle of prayer and hope as well as using our gifts to generate what it takes to care for people in great need.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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