Dear District Governor Mike,
ShelterBox is sending a response team to the Caribbean region, after a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks that struck Haiti.
We are seeking support from Rotary clubs and districts to help in our efforts at
Buildings have been flattened. Hospitals already under strain from COVID-19 are overwhelmed. Now with Haiti in the path of Tropical Storm Grace, survivors of the earthquake could be hit by strong winds, driving rain, flooding, and mudslides. Many will be facing these conditions with their homes already destroyed. Rescue efforts could be severely affected.
The ShelterBox team will work with fellow humanitarians to assess damage reports, understand from communities what they need, and work on the challenging logistics of delivering aid to areas where buildings have been reduced to rubble.
Early reports are that almost 3,000 homes have been destroyed and at least 5,400 more damaged – but search and rescue is the priority right now, so damage reports will soar in the coming days and weeks.
We’ve responded several times to Haiti, including the Las Cayes region near the earthquake epicenter.
We will be using everything we’ve learned, and our close partnership with Rotary International, to forge local connections and make sure the right emergency shelter reaches communities when they need it. Our Partnerships will be critical to us navigating logistical challenges, but they also inform the way we work with hard-to-reach communities to provide the support they need and share skills for the future.
From our response to the Les Cayes region after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we know that the geography near the quake’s epicenter could make access to vulnerable communities – and the materials they need to recover – especially challenging. Homes are often made from concrete, wood and corrugated iron, leaving them vulnerable to strong earthquakes. Heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Grace could cut off roads. Communities will want to recover/rebuild. It is important that we listen and respond in a way that supports these efforts while doing no harm.
In 2016, people were trying to repair their homes or build temporary shelters, so they could move out of collective centers – but this was challenging because of restricted access to resources. This lack of access to materials was due to the geography of the area and the underlying poverty. The move to leave collective centers will be even more urgent in the age of COVID-19, and the low vaccination rates in Haiti.
Please share this within District 7850 and your help with any available funds is greatly appreciated, thank you.
Bill Tobin
Rotary Relations Manager