Baltimore, MD (IOCC) – A hurricane that skirted the coast of Haiti in early November spared what authorities had feared would be yet another mass tragedy. But while the immediate threat passed, the storm was a powerful reminder of the real dangers still faced by more than a million people who remain housed in tent communities and make-shift shelters.
"We were fortunate that the strong winds did not materialize as had been expected," said Fr. Gregoire Legoute, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in Haiti. "But, we welcome additional hygiene supplies and other kits to continue to serve the people of our community."
He noted the continued efforts by the Orthodox Church to serve the needs of Haitians – many who still have no access to permanent shelters.
The storm underscored the continuing hardships faced by the people of Haiti and the long-term need for permanent housing, clean water and sanitation, and other basic necessities.
"This is the third major disaster that has threatened Haitians this year," said Mark Ohanian, IOCC director of programs. "The frequent disasters and threats to public health call attention to the vulnerability of the Haitian people, the magnitude of the work ahead and the continuing need for assistance."
In the months following the January 12 earthquake, IOCC has been focusing its efforts on delivering immediate emergency assistance and mitigating the long-term effects of natural disasters.
"We are working on rebuilding schools that not only serve as centers for education, but are built to withstand hurricanes and other natural disasters and will serve as disaster shelters," explained Ohanian.
Other projects by IOCC include reforestation programs that will help to prevent mudslides. Construction of sustainable sanitation facilities that will contain waste and prevent the contamination of water supplies and prevent health threats like cholera are also underway.
In cooperation with ACT Alliance members, Orthodox Christian and other partners, IOCC has delivered nearly $4 million in assistance to Haiti since the earthquake.
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