LAC: Emergency Response

Haitian at food coop
Food and Nutritional Security in Haiti: Harvest offerings at a coop general assembly. Photo: Haiti, CWS

Emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction

“After the earthquake, my life became unbearable due to my new status as a handicap orphan.  I lost my mother, my father, my sisters and brothers.  I didn’t know how I was going to survive.  Then God sent great people on my path with the sole purpose to invite me to be part of this life-changing program. I started to receive support to buy what I desperately needed to survive and also items I could sell to generate an income.

I had thought my life was over, but God had another plan for me.  He certainly took very important people in my life but replaced them by others that will help me ease my pain, cope and find new hope in life. They came in my life and they counseled me for months, visiting with me and instilled in me a sense of optimism I never knew before.”

--Yslande, beneficiary of Haiti earthquake response

CWS responds to disasters throughout the region, providing essential relief and recovery to survivors and communities.  Whether a “mega disaster” like the 2010 Haiti earthquake or a lesser-known disaster such as a local drought, CWS realizes that every such catastrophe has a huge impact on families, communities, nations and entire regions.

In particular, Central America and the Caribbean face constant threats from hurricanes, and earthquakes are frequent throughout the region.  In addition to these natural threats, some disasters are linked to human causes, such as landslides caused by massive deforestation or droughts and famine caused by overutilization of water supplies for large-scale agriculture.
In addition to responding to disasters, CWS supports initiatives in disaster risk reduction, to help communities become more resilient to the disasters they face.  This is a more effective use of resources, as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, CWS responded by repairing nearly 500 houses, providing over 5,000 people with financial support, delivering $2 million in material aid, and distributing thousands of CWS blankets, hygiene kits and tents.  At the same time, local work in agriculture and children’s rights was supported and strengthened.

In Dominican Republic, CWS partner trained community leaders in the country and in Haiti to form a local emergency response corps, providing damage assessments and response following hurricanes.