Hurricane Irma: Oxfam assists the poorest people hardest hit by disaster

Following Hurricane Irma, Oxfam and its Caribbean partner organizations are working to ensure the most vulnerable people affected by the disaster have access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation.

September 12, 2017

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Oxfam and its Caribbean partner organizations are 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. Irma’s severe flooding and strong winds caused considerable damage to people’s homes, infrastructure and agricultural production. 

“Poor people with precarious housing conditions and insecure livelihoods are most vulnerable to climate shocks, and many lack the resources to recover." -Victoria Hopkins, Oxfam Canada

In Cuba, ten people were reported killed and two million have had to evacuate their homes. Oxfam is still evaluating the extent of the damage on the eastern part of the island, and coordinating our response with partners and Cuban authorities. Large parts of Havana remain flooded and many other towns are without electricity or water. 

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. Oxfam is working in the northern coastal provinces of Montecristi and María Trinidad Sanchez, where people's livelihoods were severely affected. Oxfam is calling on the government to provide humanitarian assistance to the most affected people.

“Poor people with precarious housing conditions and insecure livelihoods are most vulnerable to climate shocks, and many lack the resources to recover. Women in particular bear the brunt of the impact and are central to recovery efforts.” said Victoria Hopkins, Humanitarian Manager at Oxfam Canada. 
  
In Haiti, Oxfam will concentrate on hygiene and sanitation work in the Nord-Est and Artibonite departments. Our primary goal is to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases due to damage to 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. 
  
“As more powerful and intense natural disasters become our new normal, we need to build resilience in vulnerable communities to help people better withstand the inevitable impact,” Hopkins added. “Governments have a vital role to play in tackling the root causes of extreme poverty to reduce the risk for families who live in the path of these storms.” 

Contact information

Shirlee Engel
Media Relations
Oxfam Canada
(613) 240-3047
Shirlee.engel@oxfam.org