To date, Sandy has impacted an estimated 60 million people. The storm caused at least 52 deaths in Haiti, as well as flooding and extensive damage across the island nation, where 370,000 people still live in flimsy shelter and tent camps following the 2010 earthquake. More than 200,000 people were left homeless by the storm, which damaged 84 displacement camps.
In the South and Southwest departments, roads are destroyed, bridges have been swept away and the main hospital in Les Cayes remains flooded. The Gray River, located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in the West department, overflowed taking away homes and businesses. The main road linking Haiti to the Dominican Republic is also badly damaged, making it difficult for vehicles to cross the border.
International Medical Corps’ teams in Haiti are collaborating with local government agencies to coordinate the emergency response. We are adding two additional mobile medical units (MMUs) at our Les Cayes site in the south and Artibonite site in the west (for a total of three MMUs at each site), and expanding the coverage of our existing MMUs to respond to both primary health care needs and increased cholera cases.
We are also mobilizing to address the urgent needs of approximately 10,000 internally displaced persons staying in temporary shelters.
Assessments are ongoing, but early findings indicate that the primary humanitarian needs are shelter, supplies, water/sanitation/hygiene, and health. New outbreaks of cholera have been reported, with more expected in the coming days.
There are also serious concerns about food insecurity, as there has been extensive damage to agriculture, livestock and fisheries across the country. This adds to the already precarious nutrition status of the population, particularly for children under 2 years old and pregnant women.