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USAID assistance continues long after hurricane winds subside

Dominican Rep.
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Long after Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne exhausted themselves, USAID continues to play a role in their clean-up in many Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries.

USAID has provided an estimated $22 million in assistance in the Caribbean in response to the hurricane devastation of the late summer - early autumn months, directed from USAID's Office on Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Flood Waters in Haiti after Hurricane Jeanne

The U.S. Congress has more recently appropriated an additional $100 million to the region in response to the hurricanes. The specific distribution of these funds among Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica and other affected islands in the Caribbean is currently under discussion.

"USAID will continue to assist the people in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti, for as long as there is need," said Adolfo Franco, assistant administrator of USAID for Latin America and the Caribbean. "The U.S. is committed to providing relief to victims of Tropical Storm Jeanne as part of our ongoing support for democracy and economic growth in Haiti."

Haitian authorities placed the death toll from Jeanne at 3,006 people, including 2,826 from Gonaïves. A regional advisor from USAID remains in Port-au-Prince to coordinate activities.

"This year's series of devastating hurricanes has severely tested the people of the Caribbean, but USAID will continue to help as countries throughout the region begin to recover," Franco added.

A summary of the USAID activities per hurricane follows:

Charley - In response to the issuance of a disaster declaration from the U. S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba on August 17th, USAID provided $50,000 for the distribution of 12,000 lbs. of food and medicine. The populations on the Isla de la Jevuntud and the province of Pinar del Río were hardest hit.

Frances - In response to a disaster declaration on September 5th (and a second later from the effects of Tropical Storm Jeanne) , USAID provided nearly $445,000 in the Bahamas for emergency assistance, which included airlifted emergency relief supplies, blankets, hygiene kits, water, and plastic sheeting. USAID also provided support to local air transport and emergency relief supplies as well as support to the Red Cross for activities on Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Ivan - Responding to a disaster declaration on September 8th in Grenada, USAID initially provided more than $2 million for emergency relief supplies and in-country transport. As it further realized the expanse of the damage, USAID then provided additional support for health services and damaged infrastructure (including the island's electric system), for livelihood restoration and short-term food security projects. Much of the latter was through United Nations organizations. USAID has also contributed an additional $3.7 million to rehabilitate health clinics, assist small business and provide emergency housing.

Grenada was not alone in Ivan's path, and in response to a disaster declaration from Jamaica on September 12, USAID provided more than $705,000 in emergency assistance there. This included shelter operations for the Jamaica Red Cross, emergency relief activities for the Salvation Army, and varied relief necessities including medical supplies, hygiene kits and plastic sheeting through World Vision. After the extent of the damage was more fully realized, USAID has promised an estimated $3.5 million in hurricane reconstruction assistance to rehabilitate homes, roads, schools and water systems.

Jeanne - The effects of Tropical Storm Jeanne on Haiti and the Dominican Republic were catastrophic. USAID has contributed nearly $11 million in Haiti to fund emergency and relief supplies. Working through a diverse coalition of agencies that included CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and the Pan American Health Organization, USAID provided air transport, health, shelter, water and sanitation, and cash-for-work assistance. Many of Gonaïves' 200,000 people were expected to have benefited indirectly from the cash-for-work projects that attempted to reduce the risk of disease and increase mobility in a clean-up-of-the-city effort.

USAID continues its efforts in Haiti with work to rehabilitate the city's water system and improve the poor road conditions. USAID has reserved $2.6 million of the above allotment for reconstruction of homes, roads, irrigation equipment and water and sanitation systems.

Jeanne's wallop was also felt in neighboring Dominican Republic, where USAID has expended $50,000 through World Vision to distribute emergency relief supplies. This included hygiene kits, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, blankets, bedding, water and plastic sheeting.