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Oxfam is preparing to respond to the likely humanitarian needs of people now being hit by Hurricane Maria in the Dominican Republic. Much of the country is already saturated after the recent heavy rains caused by Hurricanes Irma and José.
This flooding has put the most vulnerable population at risk, especially those living in mountainous regions and near rivers, canyons or areas prone to landslides.
Raúl del Río, Oxfam Director in the Dominican Republic said: "We are monitoring the effects of Hurricane Maria now. Oxfam staff and partner organizations are prepared to support any response that the Dominican government might organize."
Oxfam will likely focus on water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. It is most concerned about the risk of dengue, zika, cholera, leptospirosis and other vector-borne diseases. Oxfam will also respond with food aid for the most affected people, should that be required.
Mr del Rio said that there is an unequal distribution of risk in the country, where women, people with disabilities, children, and the poorest citizens, were all at greater risk of being affected by the impact of an extreme weather event.
As a result, Oxfam will continue to advocate for the rights of those affected and will continue to report the inequalities related to disasters.
Notes to editors
Oxfam has been working on development and humanitarian action projects in the Dominican Republic since 1989 and has contributed to the recovery of the population following the effects caused by other similar phenomena such as Tropical Storm Isaac (2012), Hurricane Sandy (2012) and Hurricane Matthew (2016). Oxfam is currently working on the recovery of the population affected by the passage of Hurricane Irma (2017). In addition, along with Casa Ya, promotes the "Change the Priorities" campaign that asks the Dominican State to invest more in decent and safe housing in the face of disasters.