IRD's programs in the Americas began responding to the devastation of the U.S. Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and is one of the few agencies that is still there, still helping to rebuild.
Active Presence Since: 2008
In the rural regions of Colombia the government is in the midst of a 40-year conflict with insurgent and illegal paramilitary groups funded by the drug trade. Although these groups generally lack local popular support, the resulting violence has forced an estimated three million citizens to flee, and has dramatically decreased the ability of the government and the wider world to provide even basic resources and services to the region.
In 2005, IRD conducted a primary assessment of the relief and development needs in Colombia. In March 2006, IRD began a second assessment focused on determining the needs of both internally displaced persons (IDPs) and indigenous populations. The long-term goal is to help communities establish economic independence from the drug trade. In 2008 IRD began program implementation.
Active Presence Since: 2009
IRD helped provide shelter, sanitation, and hygiene assistance, as well as medicine, clothes, and shoes, to Leogane, Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
IRD established a presence in Haiti on January 18, in order to provide emergency assistance in response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas on January 12. The field team included experts in rapid response and assessment, refugee camp management, infrastructure, and health, who focused their initial efforts on providing basic humanitarian aid, such as water, food, sanitation, medicines, and shelter materials.
IRD has shipped and distributed medical supplies, antibiotics, anti-diarrhea medicines, oral rehydration salts, water purifiers, respirator masks, solar-powered lights, and additional humanitarian aid. To date, IRD has received more than $16 million worth of in-kind relief commodities.
In March 2010, IRD received nearly $6.5 million in support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These funds are helping to provide shelter, sanitation, and hygiene assistance, as well as medicine, clothes, and shoes, to 28,000 individuals in Leogane, Haiti. More than 1200 temporary shelters have been constructed, in addition to the tarps distributed immediately following the earthquake.
U.S. Gulf Coast
Active Presence Since: 2005
The early morning of August 29, 2012 marks the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on the US Gulf Coast. IRD was among first responders in affected communities along Mississippi’s coast, with emergency supplies, shelter, clean water, and other relief. And as Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast, IRD was still on the Gulf Coast, still prepared to provide assistance. Our offices in Gulfport are staffed with experienced responders and emergency plans in place. Our volunteers were prepared to support clean-up efforts and to provide case management assistance as people began to clean up, repair, and rebuild.
Seven years earlier, Hurricane Katrina, a category-4 storm, moved out of the Atlantic Basin through the Gulf of Mexico to make landfall. By the time the storm had moved on, more than 1,500 people were missing and presumed dead, an estimated one million people had fled for their lives, and a dozen or more coastal cities and towns within a 90,000 square mile area were devastated. Damages were estimated at over $130 billion, making it the most costly natural disaster in the history of the country.
In addition to responding to emergency needs, IRD is committed to implementing long-term development programs that target the vulnerable communities along the Gulf Coast. In November 2005, IRD established a Gulf Coast Social Services Center in Gulfport. to assist hurricane survivors as they navigate the maze of existing social services while providing assistance with legal services and financial planning. While IRD staffs the center, local caseworkers and professional volunteers play a critical role in facilitating community outreach and assistance for survivors.