Gustav: Red Cross preparations enable fast response

تم النشر: 1 سبتمبر 2008 0:00 CET

Milagros Mateos, International Federation

Hurricane Gustav, a category three storm carrying winds of up to 185 kilometres an hour, has now hit the North American coast.

The storm has already killed 96 people in several Caribbean countries and is now threatening millions of people in the US state of Louisiana and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico.

The American Red Cross, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is well-prepared for the storm and is already giving support and shelter to thousands of people in the threatened regions.


Before the hurricane made landfall, the American Red Cross prepositioned supplies into the region to shelter 500,000 people for six days. Some 3,000 disaster response volunteers and staff are already in place, while 200 mobile feeding trailers are positioned around the Gulf Coast and can be deployed at a moment’s notice.

While preparations are ensuring a fast response in the Gulf of Mexico, the Red Cross Red Crescent is still working to support those affected by Gustav’s destructive path through the Caribbean.

The IFRC’s Pan American Disaster Response Unit in Panama has deployed two disaster management specialists to Haiti and Jamaica to support relief and recovery activities, and another two are on stand by to be deployed to Cuba. The hurricane affected many parts of Havana, and dozens of peoples have been evacuated from zones at high risk of floods or landslides, especially on the south coast and in the west of the country.


A team consisting of personnel from the IFRC and the Spanish and American Red Cross societies have conducted an initial air assessment flight over hurricane-affected areas in Haiti, specifically over Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince, and Petit Goave and Leogane.

The Red Cross societies of Haiti and Jamaica are each working on a plan of action to assist some 2,000 families each, while their sister society in Cuba is looking to support 3,000 families.

Roads were reported to have been damaged by landslides and floods, making access to affected areas even more difficult. Many plantations have been damaged and livestock lost, while many areas now face health worries because of damage to water and sewerage systems.