Although Haiti has not received the direct hit from hurricane Tomas that so many feared, wind and rain from the storm are going to exacerbate the already tenuous situation in the battered island nation.
More than 1.3 million Haitians are living in makeshift shelters in Haiti's tent cities, still homeless after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that leveled their homes and killed 300,000 people in January. Since last month more than 400 people have died in a cholera outbreak. The flooding, mudslides, and destruction that could come with hurricane Tomas have many wondering if the country, the people, and the aid efforts are at their breaking point.
Aid organizations are not yet putting out calls for supplies or volunteers in response to the storm, but many temporarily diverted their earthquake and cholera relief efforts to prepare Haitians for the storm and its aftermath. Many are assisting, with efforts to evacuate the tent cities and other unsafe shelters and move people into sturdier structures.
Many organizations are still accepting donations. Below are links to the donation and hurricane Tomas relief sections of a few aid groups:
- American Red Cross: The Red Cross has spent the last couple months preparing the country for a possible hurricane – digging drainage ditches, sandbagging hillsides, making sure evacuation routes are accessible, providing emergency response training, and installing early warning systems. It has also prepared for rapid response efforts following this storm in addition to its various earthquake and cholera relief efforts. You cannot designate your donations specifically for relief efforts in Haiti, but you can donate to the Red Cross here.
- International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee began preparing Haitians for hurricane season long before hurricane Tomas was on the radar. In the last few days, it has been notifying Haitians about the storm and urging them to prepare. You can donate directly to their efforts in Haiti here.
- Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps, which has been focusing its efforts on containing and treating the cholera outbreak, expects the situation to worsen because of the hurricane and is soliciting donations to continue providing clean water and other hygiene resources.
- International Organization for Migration: IOM has been assisting with relocation and evacuation efforts in advance of the hurricane and has expressed particular concern about how the storm will exacerbate the cholera outbreak. It is appealing for $15 million for the Haitian government's National Cholera Response Plan. Want to help? Donate.
- International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps makes it clear that it is very concerned about the impact that the storm will have on efforts to contain and treat the cholera outbreak in northern Haiti and details its efforts here. It reports that it has been working closely with local groups to prepare for the storm and distribute supplies. You can donate specifically to efforts to stem the cholera outbreak.
- Operation Blessing International: Operation Blessing is working to ensure that there is both access to clean water and water filtration following the storm. They have partnered with a local hospital to provide medical assistance, provided tools in order to help keep roads clear and various other relief efforts. You can donate specifically to their Haiti projects here.
- World Vision: World Vision has been assisting with hurricane preparedness by disseminating information about the storm to Haitians and educating about preparedness. It also plans to mobilize a rapid response team after the storm, as well as carrying its other relief efforts have have been ongoing since the earthquake. If you would like to donate, you may go here and donate specifically to their efforts in Haiti.