Hurricane Irma continues to move towards Haiti as a Category 5 storm. Puerto Rico is already feeling the effects, with 15 -20 foot storm surges expected in some coastal communities. It is being described as the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history, with winds measured at 185 mph. Haiti landfall could happen Thursday morning.
Hurricane warnings have been issued by NOAA for the North departments of Haiti, and tropical storm level warnings for the Center, Artibonite and West departments. The Haitian government has activated its Emergency Operations Unit. The government has issued a Red Alert (highest level); schools across the country have been closed.
Many in Haiti are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, which killed hundreds and left thousands homeless.
Beyond Borders is taking steps to protect our staff, alert communities in which we work, and assist in assessing any damage if Irma strikes Haiti:
- Staffers have been mobilized to diffuse messages in communities, through partner organizations, child-slavery survivor networks and Child Protection Brigades.
- Offices are being prepared for flooding or damage, to ensure operations can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.
- Staffers are preparing to be on standby to support rapid assessments if needed following the passage of the storm; official rapid assessment forms have been distributed to the team.
We ask you to join with us in praying that Hurricane Irma turns away from Haiti and other populated areas, and that the progress toward recovery that so many families have made since Hurricane Matthew isn’t lost.
Director, Beyond Borders