A number of aid appeals for Caribbean countries were launched over the weekend as the region struggles to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
Haiti, where the United Nations said some 1.8 million people were affected, officially appealed Nov. 4 for aid from other countries and international aid groups. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also launched a $2.31 million emergency appeal for Haiti. In addition, the group is seeking $5.8 million for Cuba, where it said more than 60 percent of the population was affected, and $1.3 million for Jamaica.
Money raised through the IFRC appeals will support emergency relief, health, shelter, and water and sanitation activities of national societies in the three countries.
Some aid — in kind and in cash — is already pouring into several affected Caribbean countries. The United Nations, for instance, has approved an initial $100,000 grant for Haiti and is preparing a request to draw additional money from the Central Emergency Relief Fund. The World Health Organization, World Food Program and other U.N. agencies are also mobilizing assistance, but have noted logistics concerns such as impassable roads and rivers.
The International Organization for Migration, meanwhile, is working with the Haitian government, U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations to conduct post-storm cholera assessments in Haiti’s most affected departments. IOM said at least three of the 60 reported storm-related deaths in Haiti were due to cholera. The agency and Medecins Sans Frontieres both reported a rise in suspected cholera cases in the hurricane’s aftermath.
Neighboring countries and the region’s development banks have also joined in supporting relief and recovery operations. Venezuela, for instance, has sent food, water and machinery to Haiti and Cuba. Meanwhile, the Bahamas has secured a $750,000 loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and a $200,000 grant from the Caribbean Development Bank for its recovery efforts, according to Tribute 242, citing Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie.
In the U.S. East Coast, particularly in the hardest-hit states of New York and New Jersey, aid groups such as MSF have also launched relief operations. Some international organizations, including the United Nations and World Vision, suffered damage due to flooding in New York City, where officials fear a housing crisis similar to that prompted by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
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