National Red Cross Societies across the Caribbean and central America are ramping up preparedness measures as Hurricane Matthew approaches the Caribbean and Central America.
The category 4 hurricane has been gaining strength in the Caribbean with wind up to 220 kilometres per hour.
The eye of the hurricane is expected to hit Jamaica between Sunday and Monday.
“Our Red Cross teams in Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia are currently running preparedness activities with the communities. Our volunteers and staff stand ready to respond immediately to the needs” said Walter Cotte, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) regional director for the Americas.
In Jamaica, the Red Cross has prepositioned blankets for over 1,000 families, kitchen kits for over 1,000 families and cleaning kits for 300 families.
The Red Cross of the Dominican Republic has prepositioned stocks for approximately 2,500 people. The National Society has 21 water treatment plants at its disposal. Water and sanitation teams as well as psychosocial support and health teams are on standby.
In Haiti, the Red Cross has put all its branches on alert and prepositioned stock to respond to the needs of more than 3,000 people.
In Colombia, more than 500 Red Cross staff and volunteers have been mobilized to provide support to vulnerable communities.
Swells generated by Hurricane Matthew are expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, and Colombia over the next few days; these swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
The IFRC is closely monitoring the situation, coordinating with National Red Cross societies of the region and stands ready to activate its emergency response units on request.
How can Canadians help?
Currently, the Canadian Red Cross is monitoring the situation very closely and will be ready to respond as needed.
Canadians can support the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Matthew Appeal. Donations could provide relief for those affected in the form of emergency food, clothing, shelter, personal services, and other necessities to help assist with recovery and resiliency.