Hurricane Irma: Oxfam assists those hit hardest by disasters – the poorest people

Oxfam and its Caribbean partner organizations are helping people most affected by flooding and strong winds following Hurricane Irma, which hit housing, infrastructure and destroyed agricultural production.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti were spared the worst of the hurricane. However, the most vulnerable people who lost their homes and livelihoods also do not have access to water and basic sanitation. But Oxfam is helping them.

In Cuba, we are still evaluating damages and our response, coordinated with government entities.

Irma left more than 24,000 people displaced in the Dominican Republic. Oxfam is working in the provinces of Montecristi and María Trinidad Sanchez, on the northern coast of the country, where people´s livelihoods have been severely affected. Irma destroyed more than 2,000 hectares of crops and more than 100 houses. Oxfam is calling on the government to provide humanitarian assistance to the most affected people.

In Haiti, Oxfam will concentrate on hygiene and sanitation work in the northeast and Artibonite departments. Oxfam's primary aim 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.

Irma caused considerably more damage in Cuba. Two million people had to evacuate their homes. Large parts of Havana remain flooded and many other towns are without electricity or water. Oxfam is still assessing the eastern part of the island to establish response operations with government actors and partners.

As usual, the hurricane has mostly affected poor people who have precarious housing conditions and weak livelihoods. They are most vulnerable to climate shocks and do not have the resources to recover. Women particularly bear the brunt of the impact and are central to efforts of recovery.

Oxfam calls on governments to tackle the causes behind extreme poverty as part of their national strategies for disaster risk reduction. More should be invested in building people’s resilience so they can recover quicker. 

Contact information

Tania Escamilla, Regional communcations coordinator: +52 1 55 48908019 / Tania.Escamilla@oxfam.org

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.