Our hearts go out to the many communities around the world who have, for the past two months, experienced devastating natural disasters. We have 26 artisan partners in the regions affected. We have been communicating with our artisan partners for updates to understand how they have been impacted. Any time there is a natural disaster, we are reminded about the value of solidarity and of the importance of sustainable employment opportunities for people in marginalized communities.
The majority of communities affected are located in the Global South, where resources for infrastructural repairs remain scarce. A sustainable income will be imperative to the path to recovery.
Floods in South Asia (beginning in August 2017 – ongoing)
More than 40 million people across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been affected as a result of severe rain, flooding, and landslides.
The Guardian reported flooding from the Himalayan foothills in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India, which caused severe landslides. Roads and transportation have been disrupted, as has electric power. Many families now face total loss and displacement, as tens of thousands of homes were washed away. As a result of the floods, a significant number of subsistence farmers have been deprived of their arable land.
This monsoon season has resulted in damages to 7.4 million people in Bangladesh alone, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). More than 697,000 houses have been severely damaged or completely destroyed.1
Hurricane Harvey (August 17, 2017 – September 3, 2017)
From August 26 to 30, flooding was reported throughout southeast Texas. Beginning August 17, the region experienced extreme winds and heavy rain. Flash flood emergency warnings were issued in numerous counties throughout the state. According to the Weather Channel, Harvey was the nation’s first major Category 4 hurricane landfall since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.2
8.1 Earthquake in Mexico (September 8, 2017)
On September 8, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Mexico. It was felt more than 600 miles from the epicenter, and multiple aftershocks were felt as far as El Salvador. The strongest earthquake recorded in the past 100 years was followed by a tsunami.3
A state of emergency was declared in 122 municipalities in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The state has one of the largest concentrations of Indigenous populations in Mexico, and it is home to some of the most underserved communities.
Hurricane Irma (August 20 – September 16, 2017)
On September 8, Hurricane Irma made its way through the island of Hispaniola, which includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Haiti remains one of the poorest nations in the continent and one of the poorest in the world. Other islands on the hurricane’s path experienced severe rain. The hurricane made landfall on the Florida peninsula on September 10.
The Haiti Civil Protection Agency reported “moderate flooding” in four northern provinces and said a bridge linking Haiti to the Dominican Republic had collapsed in the border city of Ouanaminthe.4 Overwhelming damage has been reported throughout the Caribbean and in the state of Florida.
7.1 Earthquake in Mexico (September 19, 2017)
On the 32nd anniversary of the powerful 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the city. The Los Angeles Times reported significant structural damages to entire blocks in the city’s downtown area.5 The states of Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca suffered important losses, and, aftershocks throughout a number of states were reported.
Although we do not currently partner with artisan groups in Puerto Rico, our hearts and thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Maria.
We have reached out to artisan groups in their respective regions of the world to assess the impact and to understand the current situation each group is facing. We are deeply saddened by these natural disasters, and in times like these, help and support is needed more than ever.
At The Little Market, we are committed to creating meaningful and sustainable opportunities for our artisan partners, their families, and their communities. Every purchase helps infuse outside economic support into these communities where sustainable income will be critical, particularly during the recovery process. By practicing fair trade principles and ethical sourcing methods, our collective efforts translate to positive economic development for our artisan partners. We will continue to connect with and support our artisan partners through their recovery efforts. Thank you for your continued dedication to empowering artisans around the world.