Local relief groups help Hurricane Irma victims in Haiti and Dominican Republic

A home is surrounded by debris brought in by Hurricane Irma in Nagua, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Irma flooded parts of the Dominican Republic when it roared by Thursday, just off the northern coast of the island it shares with Haiti. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)

SEATTLE - As Hurricane Irma pounds parts of the Caribbean, relief organizations are on the ground helping the victims.

In Seattle, several groups are already making a difference in Haiti and the Dominican Republic - offering water, medical and emergency supplies.

A simple resource like a water filter is a huge help for hurricane victims.

“This is one of the filter models we use to purify water. It’s simple. It goes in the top through a ceramic filter and it drips down, purified as it goes. It’s clean at the bottom," said Chris Sheach, The Director of Disaster Response for World Concern.

On Haiti’s northern coast, the Mayor of Fort Liberty called it a “nuclear hurricane” with “damaged crops, dead cattle, cities that are broken.”

Relief organization World Concern—based in shoreline—has answered the call for help.

Sheach has been busy Skyping with the organization’s country director of Haiti about assessments and deploying resources.

“We have relief mattresses, through our local partner here in Seattle—Relief Bed. We have purchased the mosquito nets and hygiene supplies,” said Sheach.

World concern has been doing hurricane response for decades now. As pictures and videos pour in of the devastation and the flooding, the organization said there’s some comfort. They said they have trained lots of local staff in Haiti for natural disasters and that may have minimized some of the hurricane damage.

“We trained all the volunteers for evacuation, we helped rebuild the evacuation shelters and organized an early warning system in the community,” said Sheach.

Meanwhile, World Vision based in Federal Way, has also been busy helping with Irma relief efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

They said they have hundreds of local staff and emergency assessment teams and tens of thousands of relief items like basic supplies and hygiene kits to offer hurricane victims.

The Red Cross said it has deployed 27 people from our region to help with Hurricane Irma relief. And, they've sent seven emergency response vehicles to help feed people and provide supplies.

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