Haiti Devastated By Floods

Action Against Hunger Deploys Emergency Assistance Program

Following the political crisis at the beginning of the year and torrential rains in May, Haiti has now been ravaged by tropical storm Jeanne.

2004 continues to be a horrendous year for this country, already one of the poorest on the planet. The history of Haiti is marked by a series of economic and political crises, compounded by environmental catastrophes. Tropical Storm Jeanne has essentially devastated the north of the country and Gonaives. More rains are expected in the coming days, and it is not impossible that additional tropical storms or hurricanes may still hit the island.

The pitiful tally so far for Jeanne lists more than 1,000 dead, 1,500 missing and 250,000 wounded. Pierre Gallien, Country Director for Haiti, described the situation: "The houses have been swept away or completely devastated, the plantations are destroyed, and the livestock decimated. Having lost everything, the people find themselves completely diminished. They often have not eaten anything for days, apart from bananas and sugar cane salvaged from plants which are in the process of rotting under foot. There is no longer access to drinkable water, all of which has been contaminated by sea water and mud."

Emergency needs are extensive: food, water, healthcare, cooking utensils, jerricans, blankets, clothing...

Action against Hunger is increasing its staffing on site in order to launch emergency programs offering clean water, nourishment of children under 5, and distribution of first aid kits. These programs, beginning today, will benefit 150,000 people among Gonaives, Port de Paix and Ile de la Tortue. In a secondary phase, programs will be required to assist the people to regain their own independent food sustenance abilities.

In the face of this crisis, Action against Hunger is launching an appeal to the generosity of the public to help support its programs in Haiti.

Present in Haiti since 1982, Action against Hunger has been making special efforts since 2001 to provide clean drinking water and nutritional surveillance. At the same time, emergency programs are regularly instituted to respond to critical needs such as food, water and health provisions.