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The chief executive of Concern Worldwide has praised Ireland's support to the devastated people of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew - but has described the world's overall response a disgrace.
Dominic MacSorley, who is currently in the Caribbean country working alongside the Concern team as they distribute urgent aid, urged donors around the world to “wake up” and meet the UN’s flash appeal for $120m (€109.3m) after it emerged just 20 per cent has so far been donated nearly two weeks since the disaster.
Speaking from Haiti - where 1.4 million need immediate aid and the death toll continues to rise - Mr MacSorley, said: “Nobody should be dying for a lack of money.
“Despite the logistic challenges, this is a country that we have access to. There is no war, no bombs dropping and no excuses. The appeal must be met.
It is a disgrace that there has not been a more robust response, particularly from the big major donors. The Irish public have once again been digging deep and we cannot thank them enough.
"The Irish Government’s Irish Aid programme for overseas development have been very responsive. Within hours of the crisis they released supplies in Panama to be airlifted for us to distribute and I welcome their recent announcement of the additional funding of €1.5m for the overall response in Haiti. But the donors with the deepest pockets are failing Haiti and need to step up."
This appeal is urgent, but ultimately we need to get out of this cycle of chaotic crisis response and begin to seriously invest in building the resilience of poor communities to withstand disasters better, thereby saving lives and ultimately saving the massive transaction costs of emergency responses.
"Haiti is typical of short-sighted international development budgets where less than 40 cents in every $100 goes to prevention and disaster risk reduction".
The Concern chief executive, who was one of the first aid workers in Haiti in 2010 after an earthquake struck killing over 300,000 people, praised the Concern team of 110 staff on the ground in Haiti, who are led by Country Director Nellie Kingston from Clonakilty, Co.Cork.
The immediate focus of Concern's relief efforts is cholera prevention in the capital Port au Prince and providing emergency relief kits to thousands of families on the impoverished Haitian island of La Gonave, an hour's boat ride from the mainland, where the storm has wiped out homes and crops along the coast line.
Official figures coming from the UN in Haiti show that 2.1 million people are affected by the hurricane in a country with a population of 10.1 million, with a massive 13 per cent, or 1.4 million requiring urgent immediate aid and assistance over the next three months.
It is feared that the death toll could exceed 1,000 people and there are also huge concerns that there could be a significant cholera epidemic given the grave conditions people are surviving in.
Already there are reports of over 510 cases of cholera and Concern’s main aim and focus now will be focusing its relief efforts in preventing more people from getting the waterborne disease.
If anyone would also like to donate to the Concern Haiti appeal it can be done online
www.concern.net/donate/appeals/haiti-hurricane-appeal or by calling Concern directly on Freephone 1850 211 844.
For more information or for an interview with Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley, please contact communications officer Kevin Jenkinson at 0863582886 or [email protected]