This Week in Restoring Family Links: 11/30/16-12/1/16

Sophia Fredericks, Social Engagement Intern, National Headquarters Washington D.C. 

Haiti: It is found that many people are having their Dominican citizenship taken away and being pushed across the border into Haiti by the Dominican Government. In 2013 the Dominican court stripped many of their identities due to a nationality law. In 2015 a new law was passed in order to help those affected secure their rights to citizenship but it is being unsuccessfully carried out. Pregnant women and children are being affected and living in very poor conditions. Sky Wheeler, a Women’s Rights Emergency Researcher, said “not only have many been deprived of their right to nationality, they are not getting the assistance they so desperately need.”

A pregnant women at a camp for Dominicans of Haitian Descent and Haitians. Photo Credit: ©  2015 Reuters

A pregnant women at a camp for Dominicans of Haitian Descent and Haitians. Photo Credit: ©  2015 Reuters

According to the International Organization for Migration, as many as 150,000 Dominicans with Haitian Descent and Haitian migrants have crossed the border to Haiti since deportations began again in July 2015. Many of those who faced forced deportation are residing in camps near the town of Anse-à-Pitres but are struggling to survive. The whereabouts of many others still remains unknown. The standard of living in these camps is poor and people are struggling to find access to clean water and sanitation.

There are demands from the Haitian government to take action to help the stateless individuals who reside in Haiti and aid them in achieving Haitian citizenship. The increased amount of stateless people also is cause for an increased demand for food when there was already a shortage. Pregnant women are also at very high risk because of lack of access to maternal care. This removal of citizenship has led to the suffering of many and there are calls for the Dominican government to end these deportations.

Central America: The Red Cross is working to provide aid after Hurricane Otto greatly affected Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Costa Rica was affected most due to the floods, landslides, destroyed homes, damaged roads and power outages the storm caused. Carlos Herrera, the National Head of First Aid for the Costa Rican Red Cross, said “...we are working on rescue, search and care of victims and patients, we also helped to evacuate to secure areas the people who needed it.” Shelters have also been established for those most in need.

Red Cross providing aid after Hurricane Otto. Photo Credit: IFRC

Red Cross providing aid after Hurricane Otto. Photo Credit: IFRC

It is found so far that nine people have died as a result of the hurricane and there is uncertainty in the amount of missing people. The storm also killed eight people in Panama and in Nicaragua 597 people still reside in shelters. The Red Cross continues to provide aid in anyway it can. The Nicaraguan Red Cross has as many as 1400 volunteers working to help in various ways such as psychological aid, restoring family links, search and rescue teams, etc. The Panamanian Red Cross is also working to help in all ways possible by working as a center to collect donations in order to distribute across the population.