Follow us by email

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike hits the Dominican Republic

Our friends in the Dominican Republic have let us know that Hurricane Ike has hit their communities particularly badly.

While there has been no loss of life, many of the mountain villages in which HOPE International Development Agency-partnered families live have been cut off from the rest of the world. Roads that have been built painstakingly on minimal funds have been washed out. Many families who had still been waiting to receive the materials to build sturdier, hurricane-resistant homes are now out in the open. Crops for food and income were damaged extensively.

Fortunately, damage to our rehabilitation work undertaken following last years’ Hurricane Noel has been minimal.

As with any disaster, the challenge is to build back better. It may seem like Central Americans are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to their climate. But to forget the role we can play in helping them to adapt to this challenge as well as to stand a better chance of coming through future storms in better condition (for example, by investing into higher-quality infrastructure or terraced hillsides that resist erosion) we fall prey to the classic temptation of the first-world onlooker. That is, to throw up our hands in despair and say, “A tragedy! I guess there’s nothing that can be done. You can’t control the weather.”

Well...when it rains, you can take an umbrella outside. And when Dominicans experience frequent hurricane conditions, they can work on building back their communities better — to be more weather-resistant and better able to spring back from their losses. And they will, if we continue to invest into them.

To see a few pictures of the damage wreaked in Ocoa province, where we are working, check out this blog that a friend in San Jose de Ocoa passed along to us.

We’ll be in touch with our Dominican people to find out how we can help. As we know more, we’ll share more.

No comments: