Hurricane Sandy on October 25th in the Caribbean. Photo by: NASA.
Although Haiti avoided a direct hit by Hurricane Sandy, the tropical storm caused severe flooding across the southern part of the country decimating agricultural fields. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs now warns that 1.5 million Haitians are at risk of severe food insecurity, while 450,000 people face severe acute malnutrition, which can kill.
“We have lost everything. If I do not find seeds and seedlings now, I will have to prepare them myself from remaining devastated crops. But it will take a year for them to be ready and more than six months after to harvest,” Nessilo Dorestant, a farmer in the southwest told the NGO ActionAid. “There is no possible way for my family to survive this long without food. All the farmers are in the same situation.” The government has said that 70 percent of agriculture in the southern part of the country has been wrecked.
ActionAid is calling on international donors to step-up assistance to the disaster-struck country in order to avoid a hunger crisis.
Haiti’s agricultural sector was already hard hit by Hurricane Gustav in August even before Sandy struck. Haiti declared a state of emergency on October 30th following Hurricane Sandy. In addition to inundating fields, the hurricane destroyed 6,274 homes and killed 54.
The hurricanes this year follow mass devastation wrought by an earthquake in 2010, which killed upwards of 200,000 people and over a million homeless. Considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere even before the earthquake, Haiti has yet to recover from the narural disaster.
Scientists warn that climate change may be increasing the severity of hurricanes. Warmer ocean waters means great precipitation, while rising sea levels add to storm surges.
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Photos of flooded New York Aquarium released
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Hours before Hurricane Sandy hit, activists protested climate inaction in Times Square
(10/30/2012) On Sunday, as Hurricane Sandy roared towards the coast of the Eastern U.S., activists took to the streets in New York City to highlight the issue of climate change. Activists organized by 350.org unfurled a huge parachute in Times Square with the words, “End Climate Silence,” a message meant to call attention to the fact that there has been almost zero mention of climate change during the presidential campaign, including not a single reference to the issue in the four presidential debates.
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Did Haiti’s deforestation, hurricane trigger deadly earthquake?
(01/04/2011) Erosion caused by hurricanes and large-scale deforestation may have contributed to last year’s devastating earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, according to a geologist at the University of Miami.