Thousands of Red Cross volunteers and staff mobilized across the Caribbean as Hurricane Matthew approaches

Published: 3 October 2016

Geneva, Panama—3 October 2016. Over 3,000 volunteers and staff of the Red Cross in Haiti are on the ground working to help communities prepare for Hurricane Matthew. Red Cross teams in Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas are on standby ready to assist.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is dispatching health, sanitation and emergency response experts to the region to support local Red Cross teams.

“Across the Caribbean, Red Cross teams are helping communities to prepare for the worst,” said Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas. “We are prepositioning emergency supplies. Thousands of our volunteers are ready to respond with critical assistance as soon as the storm strikes.”

Haiti is bracing for torrents of rain that could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Southern parts of the island are especially vulnerable to flooding where roads, already in poor condition, are likely to become inaccessible amid heavy rainfall.

“The Haitian Red Cross has already deployed experienced teams across the country to deliver medical care, clean water, sanitation should the storm be as devastating as predicted,” said Ines Brill, IFRC country representative.

“Flooding and storm surges are likely to increase water contamination and the spread of water-borne diseases. This may pose a serious risk of exacerbating Haiti’s existing cholera outbreak,” she added.

In Jamaica, Red Cross staff and volunteers are poised to distribute blankets, kitchen kits and cleaning supplies for up to 1,000 families. In the Dominican Republic, teams are readying sanitation equipment and services for hard-hit communities there, and in neighboring Haiti. Dominican Republic Red Cross has stock for approximately 2,500 people. They also have 21 water treatment plants ready to be activated if needed.

For more information or to setup interviews

In Panama:

  • Diana Medina, communications manager (English and Spanish):

Skype: medinadiana30

Mobile phone /whatsApp: +507 6780-5395

In Jamaica:

  • Jose Fernando Giraldo (English and Spanish)

Skype: jf.giraldo - Whatsapp: +50764535365 - Mobile: +1-876-4295464

In Haiti:

  • Ines Brill, IFRC country representative (English, Spanish and French):

Mobile phone: +509 3170-7809

Satellite phone: +88 1651460203

  • Stephane De Rengerves (English, Spanish and French):

Mobile: +509 4895-6132

Satellite phone: +88 1651460200

  • Marjorie Jasmin, communications officer (English and French):

Mobile: +509 3170-6963

In Geneva

  • Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications

Mobile: +41792132413 E-mail:  Twitter: @Benoist