Hurricane Irma

Oxfam and its Caribbean partner organizations are helping people most affected by Hurricane Irma, which destroyed houses, infrastructure and ruined agricultural production. 

Oxfam is on the ground responding to Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade. 

The Situation

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, raged through the Caribbean affecting Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. In the Dominican Republic, Irma left more than 24,000 people displaced, destroyed more than 100 houses, and obliterated over 2,000 hectares of crops. In Cuba, Irma caused damage to 13 of Cuba's 15 provinces, forcing more than 2 million people to leave their homes.

The hurricane affected the poorest people the most. Poverty and inequality leaves communities more vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of bad housing and weak livelihoods. In many cases, they do not have the resources to recover.

When natural disaster strikes, women and girls often suffer the most. Women are more likely to die during natural disasters than men. Women face an increased risk of losing livelihoods, gender-based violence, and an increased responsibility for home and family.

How Oxfam is Helping

In the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, our teams are on the ground helping the most vulnerable people who have lost their homes and livelihoods to recover from the disaster, including ensuring access to clean water and basic sanitation.

In the Dominican Republic and Haiti our primary goal is to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases due to damaged water infrastructure. Oxfam will provide safe water in four villages with handwashing points and chlorine tablets. Oxfam is also coordinating a public health and hygiene campaign with government and aid agencies.

In Cuba, Oxfam is working with partners and Cuban officials, responding to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma. Oxfam is preparing to respond in the province of Camagüey in the municipalities of Esmeralda and Minas. The aim is to reach at least 8,500 people with lifesaving water, sanitation, and hygiene services, along with emergency shelter and support to agricultural cooperatives.

For more than 30 years, Oxfam has been active in the Caribbean region, where we work hand in hand with local partners to assist people in crisis, while helping affected communities raise their voices to ensure they get appropriate assistance. Oxfam worked with local partners in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba to assist with disaster recovery after Hurricane Sandy (2012) and Hurricane Matthew (2016), where we provided hygiene kits, tarpaulins for shelter and water purification tablets to more than 5000 people.

As communities begin to rebuild from natural disasters, Oxfam's long-term programs help the most vulnerable areas become stronger and more resilient. Oxfam ensures that the specific needs of women and girls is included in all our humanitarian and long-term program work. As skilled agents of survival, change, and adaptation, women and girls are critical to reconstruction.

How you can help

Donate now to help us meet the most critical needs. Funds designated for Hurricane Irma will be used to support relief, recovery, and reconstruction efforts for affected areas where Oxfam is on the ground.

Learn More:

Media Release: Oxfam mobilizing to help Cubans devastated by Hurricane Irma with a focus on women and girls, September 18, 2017
Media Release: Hurricane Irma: Oxfam assists the poorest people hardest hit by disaster, September 12, 2017
Media Release: Hurricane Irma: Oxfam collaborates with Cuban authorities to assess and mitigate damage, September 9, 2017
Media Release: Hurricane Irma: Oxfam assessing damage in Haiti and Dominican Republic, September 8, 2017
Media Release: Hurricane Irma: Oxfam in Haiti preparing for the worst, September 7, 2017

Page last updated: January 2, 2018

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