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Turks and Caicos Islands recover from devastating hurricanes

15 January 2010

Latrine being builtBRCIn the Turks and Caicos Islands, hundreds of people affected by hurricanes in September 2008 now have sanitation facilities thanks to a Red Cross recovery programme.

Between August and November 2008, many islands across the Caribbean were hit by a series of hurricanes, which caused deaths and severe damage to infrastructure. In the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), which were battered by hurricanes Hanna and Ike, hundreds of people lost their homes and around 7,000 people were affected. Fortunately, there was no loss of life.

The British Red Cross launched an appeal which raised £235,000 and the TCI Red Cross appeal raised £61,000. Following the relief phase and with an additional £145,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Red Cross began a nine-month recovery programme in April 2008, which has now been completed.

Recovery

In the aftermath of the disaster, one of the priorities in protecting people’s health was to restore sanitation facilities.

Fiona McSheehy, British Red Cross recovery programme officer, said: “We worked with TCI Red Cross staff and volunteers to build 60 new shower and latrine blocks, and install waste bins in some of the poorest and worst-affected areas.

“We also rebuilt the sewage system in the main prison. After the hurricanes it had been so severely damaged that the prisoners became some of the most vulnerable people in terms of standards of hygiene.”

Lasting impact

As well as the construction work and health and hygiene promotion, the programme involved improving the ability of the TCI Red Cross to respond to future disasters.

Kaat Boon, programme manager, said: “It was about working with local staff to figure out how to strengthen their ability to respond effectively to the needs of the most vulnerable in times of disaster and to have a longer-lasting impact.

“I think the services we provided – the sanitation facilities and disaster management training – have gone a long way to helping people recover. But perhaps just as important was the way we bridged gaps between people from different backgrounds and cultures, showing them that things can get better.”

More about the hurricane recovery programme

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