By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local aid is being mobilized to Caribbean Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Local groups are in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with the impact of  Irma is not as severe as they expected, but it didn’t take much to cause devastation.

With torrential rain, and winds that are off the charts, as WJZ is now getting a closer look at Irma’s wrath in the Caribbean and the destruction left behind in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Homes have been destroyed, with debris scattered across roadways and flooding that made cars look like bath toys.

“Haiti is a very vulnerable country because of quality of housing and lack of infrastructure,” says Beth Carrol with Catholic Relief Services of Baltimore and is coordinating the response in Haiti and rode out the hurricane.

“It’s very very frightening, the winds are terrifying,” she says.

Some livelihoods have been washed away

“Unfortunately the reality is the impact of storms like this can be permanent,” says Carroll.

And now, as the cleanup begins, Catholic Relief Services is there to help those in dire need.

“To do rapid assessments, and see what areas have biggest needs,” she says.

Catholic Relief Service is providing a similar response for the group throughout that area.

“Providing assistance in the form of shelter, water and sanitation and rescue-type things,” says Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.

Now, with hurricane Jose trailing Irma, volunteers and residents are preparing for the worst-case scenario.

“I don’t think this area has seen two Category 4 or 5 hurricanes in the same season.

WJZ is continuing to keep in touch with our local Red Cross. They are monitoring the storm waiting to see how it will impact our region before they commit to sending more resources to Florida.

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