Crisis watch

20 Sept 2017

Hurricane Maria

CARE emergency teams in Haiti are preparing to respond in areas potentially affected by Hurricane Maria, which is projected to pass northeast of Haiti but could still cause significant damage in the country’s north. CARE is readying clean drinking water, food and emergency supplies such as tarps for shelter.

Some areas of the country are extremely vulnerable to flash flooding and mudslides, in addition to the potential damage caused by heavy winds and rains during the hurricane. The populations most likely to be affected are those who live in coastal zones, low-lying and flood-prone areas, and mountainous areas. Most at risk in those areas are those who live in poorly-constructed housing and those who are already living in situations of severe poverty and vulnerability.

18 Sept 2017

Refugee crisis in Bangladesh

In the past three weeks, more than 400,000 people from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh after an escalation of violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. Most of the refugees (around 80 percent) are women, children and small babies. Zia Choudhury, CARE Bangladesh’s Country Director, says:

The situation of the refugees is worsening by the minute. They came to Bangladesh with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They walked for long distances for days to reach safety.

CARE Bangladesh’s emergency team is distributing food in Cox’s Bazar district, where most refugees have sought shelter. CARE has worked in Cox’s Bazar for many years, helping people in the areas of food security, disaster risk reduction, women’s empowerment and emergency response.

The Government of Bangladesh and local authorities are working hard to meet the needs of the refugees. Local Bangladeshi families, with few resources themselves, are taking in the refugees and have been supporting them however they can. But the scale of this crisis means that much more help is needed. Choudhury says:

In Cox’s Bazar, close to the Myanmar border, families are sleeping in fields and on muddy paths. They have nowhere else to go. The people who have fled Rakhine State are in desperate need of clean drinking water, food, medical help and a safe place to sleep.

CARE is also concerned that the ongoing rains will further worsen the situation. Choudhury says: “People will need to build more stable shelter as soon as possible. They will need strong tarpaulin, bamboo and rope to remain safe during the rains.”

15 Sept 2017

Hurricane Irma

People outside damaged house
People outside a damaged house in Caibarien, Villa Clara, Cuba

CARE’s assessment teams in Cuba report that some communities are still completely cut off. In some communities along the north coast at least half the homes have been partially or totally destroyed. High winds have blown off roofs while flooding washed away personal possessions and household contents. Power and telephone lines are down and schools, fields, buildings and key infrastructure have been impacted.

“The extent of the damage is becoming more and more alarming,” says Richard Paterson, CARE’s country representative in Cuba. “Extended electrical outages are beginning to affect people’s access to clean drinking water and food.”

CARE and local partners are preparing to support the Cuban government’s relief and recovery efforts with emergency programming initially targeting 20,000 people in the provinces of Villa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin. CARE will focus on clean water, hygiene and sanitation support and also look to help people with shelter assistance to repair damaged homes.

Read more: Hurricane Irma survivors: “Everything is beneath rubble”

Donate now to our Hurricane Irma Emergency Appeal

13 Sept 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane damaged house in Cuba
Hurricane damage to houses in Gibara, Holguin, Cuba

In Cuba, officials have reported significant flooding and waves up to 16 feet in coastal villages. Many of these communities are still under three or four feet of water. As many as 1 million people were evacuated ahead of the storm. Power remains out across the island.

Due to the rudimentary nature of houses in rural and poorer sections of urban areas, hurricanes have the potential to cause major damage to buildings – particularly roofs – and affect available shelter for families. Basic assistance for home reconstruction is urgently needed to ensure safe and secure homes for affected people. CARE’s initial response strategy includes roofing kits (roofing sheets, support structures, fasteners and tools) as well as hygiene necessities and basic household items.

CARE’s teams on the ground in Haiti and Cuba are also concerned about potential secondary effects of the storm, including large-scale population displacement and the threat of waterborne diseases including cholera. In the medium term, major recovery efforts will also be needed to address people’s livelihoods, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Donate now to our Hurricane Irma Emergency Appeal

12 Sept 2017

South Asia floods

In Bangladesh, CARE has helped 8,370 people through unconditional cash distribution in two of the worst affected districts, Kurigram and Sirajgonj. In India, we have helped 14,791 people in Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with food and household items, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene support (WASH). In Nepal,  where floods have caused significant damage and loss to housing, animal sheds, food grain stores, and personal household items, CARE has helped 17,961 people with shelter, household items and WASH support, and is piloting some early recovery projects in affected areas.

Read Ishwori’s story – one of the people helped by CARE in Nepal