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November 19, 2012

Protecting Livelihoods in Haiti

HSI's Disaster Relief Field Clinic in Léogâne

Humane Society International

  • The heavy rains and floods that hurricane Sandy brought dealt a hard blow to Haiti. HSI

  • The disaster relief field clinic was an opportunity to bring some much needed assistance, and the locals responded positively. HSI

  • HSI's veterinary team worked hard to treat patients, both domestic and working animals. HSI

  • Haiti's fragile economy is heavily dependent on working animals, hence the urgent need to for a these clinics. HSI

  • Although much was accomplished on this one clinic, the demand is so overwhelming that further clinics are already being prepared. HSI

by Amelia Muccio

An already fragile nation was thrown into chaos when Hurricane Sandy hit Haiti and brought further devastation. The rain caused rivers to swell and overflow. Infrastructure—including bridges, hospitals, and schools—collapsed. Mudslides and flash flooding killed more than 50 people and destroyed 27,000 homes. Crops were ruined, sparking fears of a food shortage. And now cholera is on the rise. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated that 4,000 new cases of cholera were reported between October 28th and November 8th.

No stranger to disasters

Léogâne, a Haitian town located 18 miles west of Port-au-Prince, was the epicenter of the 7.0 earthquake that catastrophically impacted Haiti in January 2010 and destroyed an estimated 90 percent of that community's infrastructure. Still reeling from Tropical Storm Isaac, Léogâne received another dose of heavy rains and wind when Hurricane Sandy passed by.

Protecting livelihoods

Livelihoods protection is a critical aspect in emergency response and humanitarian assistance. The loss of crops and farm animals is a dangerous situation to a community—like Léogâne—that heavily relies on agriculture as a means of development and productivity. The Haitian government is pleading with the international community for additional emergency funding assistance in order to ward off a massive food shortage that is estimated to impact 1.5 million people.

1,120 animals were treated in one day, including dogs, goats, equines, pigs, bulls, cats and chickens.

Protecting farm animals is a key priority for the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), so HSI joined the MOA in their relief efforts. On November 12, HSI Haiti set out with the MOA's veterinarians and veterinarian agents to Léogâne to provide a vaccination campaign to stop the spread of disease in the flood ravaged area.

Community members came out in large numbers to have their animals treated by the veterinarians. In one day, 1,120 animals were treated including dogs, goats, equines, pigs, bulls, cats and chickens. And still, another field clinic is needed in Léogâne. HSI continues to work with the MOA and support the disaster relief needs of humans and animals in Léogâne.

Thanks to our sponsor Big Dog Sportswear for outfitting our team with t-shirts for our field response.

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