Christian Aid is assessing flood and wind damage in northern areas of Dominican Republic and Haiti battered by Hurricane Irma on Thursday. Many homes have been left flooded with crops and plantations ruined.
Winds of at least 160mph have damaged roofs and the excessive rain has caused flooding, devastating much of the land near the north coast and destroying infrastructure such as bridges.
Prospéry Raymond, country manager for Christian Aid in Haiti and Dominican Republic said: “The people of Dominican Republic and Haiti are resilient and experience hurricanes every year. We were preparing for the worst possible scenario, but thankfully we escaped the eye of the storm and damage has not been as severe as we feared. If the rain continues, there are risks of landslides in the coming days in some of the areas affected.
"Working with our partners and the local authorities, we were able to ensure families were safe and damage limited. The disaster-proof homes and community facilities built by our partners and funded by Christian Aid following the 2010 earthquake and last year's Hurricane Matthew have fortunately been left unscathed. It’s too early to see the true extent of Irma's impact but we know that some buildings and bridges have been damaged, farmland and crops have been flooded, and people's livelihoods harmed.
“We are working with our partners to assess the needs of the most severely affected communities in the coming days and will then determine what support they need, but flooded roads mean getting aid to remote communities could be challenging."
Michael Mosselmans, acting Head of Humanitarian at Christian Aid, added: “We’ve been working with our local partners in Dominican Republic and Haiti since we heard Irma was coming; helping to evacuate as many people as possible, stockpiling food and other essential provisions and putting plans in place for the recovery.
“We’ve been working on the island of Hispaniola for 20 years and our team, alongside our partners, are well-equipped to respond to this emergency. They know the communities and understand what their needs will be.”