World Vision Prepares for Potential Severe Weather Amidst Ongoing Cholera, Quake Response Work

Oct 29, 2010, 21:18 ET from World Vision

- Forecasters predict Tropical Storm Tomas may grow into a hurricane over the weekend

- Aid agency says severe weather, cholera outbreak and ongoing quake response "testing Haiti's limits"

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As forecasters watch Tropical Storm Tomas in the Caribbean, World Vision's relief team is preparing for the possibility of severe weather this weekend in Haiti.  

"Our rapid response team is mobilizing right now to do everything it can in the next 24 to 48 hours to help mitigate the effects of this storm," said Sabrina Pourmand-Nolen, World Vision's emergency program director in Haiti.  "First the earthquake, then the cholera outbreak, and now the possibility of severe weather here; all of it is testing the limits of Haiti."

The Christian relief agency is carrying out a number of activities in the next several days to help prepare the children and families in its camps in Port-au-Prince for the storm.  Activities include:

  • Distributing hurricane preparedness messages (identify a safe place, listen for radio updates, have phones charged, keep important documents in plastic bags, stock essential items if possible, and secure your tents) in both French and Creole.
  • Temporarily dismantling the Child Friendly Spaces tents.
  • Ensuring all water tanks are full and latrines are desludged and secured.
  • Mobilizing a post-storm rapid assessment team.
  • Securing contents of the health tents but continue to keep open (as much as possible) to provide preventative measures for cholera.

In addition, World Vision is working with other agencies, including the American Refugee Committee and Oxfam at Corail, to protect the families in those camps, including establishing the warehouse at Corail as an emergency shelter.

"The effect of these natural disasters and the outbreak highlight the ongoing vulnerability here," said Pourmand-Nolen.  "It is a reminder to the international community that one of the most critical things that must happen for Haiti to recover from the multiple tragedies this year is a commitment to build its infrastructure.  Access to clean water, sanitation facilities, health care and education will create a stronger Haiti in the future."

In the fall of 2008, Haiti was struck by four hurricanes in August and September, and World Vision responded immediately, providing emergency relief items like blankets, food and water to the children and families affected by the storm.  

SOURCE World Vision