This statement was originally published on September 1, 2017. It has been updated on September 15, 2017 to reflect the latest information.
The past few weeks have been devastating for hundreds of thousands of families. In the United States, Hurricane Harvey brought destructive winds and catastrophic flooding to Texas and Louisiana, affecting millions of people. And in Nepal, flooding from the heaviest monsoon rains seen in 15 years have destroyed tens of thousands of homes and impacted 1.7 million men, women and children. Hurricane Irma has impacted thousands of families in the Caribbean and in Florida — our thoughts are with them.
In the face of this incredible suffering, Mercy Corps is supporting domestic and international relief efforts.
While most of our work takes place overseas, in the most extreme cases we do respond to disasters in the United States. In response to Hurricane Harvey, we are supporting Team Rubicon, a U.S. disaster response organisation that is on the ground in Texas. Team Rubicon water rescue teams conducted more than 50 floodwater rescues, and hundreds of Team Rubicon veterans and civilian volunteers have deployed to impacted communities in Texas. More are on the way to tackle the massive clean-up effort that lies ahead and help families recover from this disaster.
Members of Mercy Corps’ emergency response team are in Texas, evaluating how our experience responding to international emergencies can best support local groups. As floodwaters recede and recovery efforts begin, we expect to support local organisations helping vulnerable and underserved communities in Houston and surrounding areas.
Hurricane Irma largely spared Haiti as it passed by on its way through the Caribbean. Flooding seems to be highly localized, but the more rural areas have not been assessed or reached yet. Mercy Corps sent two assessment teams from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien, in northern Haiti, to join our team there to see if we can help. Mercy Corps does not currently work in the northern part of Haiti.
Hurricane season still has two months to go — with Hurricane Jose on the horizon — so we must continue being diligent in our disaster preparedness efforts. We are approaching Haiti’s most important harvest of the year in October and November. More than half of the population depends on agriculture for their income, so any damage to farms or livestock could make the difference of eating or not for the next few months.
PHOTO: Abhinash Chaudhary/Mercy Corps
On the other side of the globe, Nepal, still recovering from massive earthquakes in 2015, is now facing another natural disaster. Weeks of flooding have killed over 1,000 people and forced more than 460,000 others from their homes. Families are now struggling to meet their basic needs for food and shelter.
In partnership with BASE, a local organisation in Western Nepal, we’ve distributed 200 bags of essentials in one of the most severely affected areas. Kits include tarpaulins, blankets, utensils, solar lights, basic hygiene kits, water purification tablets and water jars.
As our responses continue in Texas, Nepal, and Haiti, we’re standing with the families affected and working to help them build back stronger.
Our readiness to respond to disasters like these and help strengthen communities for the long term is thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. To support our work now and for the future, please consider making a gift to our Humanitarian Response Fund.