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November 1 2012 5 01 /11 /November /2012 06:22

Battered Haiti facing food shortages after Sandy destroyed crops

Haiti is facing the prospect of long-term food shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy, raising fears for the battered island already devastated by a 2010 earthquake and August’s Hurricane Isaac, aid workers said Wednesday.

Battered Haiti facing food shortages after Sandy destroyed crops
A street vendor tries to keep the crowd from stealing her goods in Port-au-Prince back in 2010 Photo: AFP/GETTY

Relief teams, who were still helping the country recover from the earthquake that killed 250,000 two years ago, said they were now using resources to help families affected by Sandy.

 

Enrique Jair Guevara, International Federation of Red Cross spokesman for the Americas, said Haiti had been left weakened by successive natural disasters.

 

"The number of crops affected, people's lives affected, families who have lost their homes, is alarming and really calls attention to the need for humanitarian aid and assistance," he said.

 

"In the line of the storm was Haiti, which has a high level of vulnerability, which is of great concern to us.

 

"They were significantly affected by Hurricane Isaac prior to Sandy so the compounding of that makes a vulnerable suituation even more precarious."

 

He added Haiti was also at risk of a possible cholera outbreak after more than 1,800 homes were flooded.

 

Jana Sweeny, spokesman for the American Red Cross, said: "The main work we are doing in the Caribbean is related to Haiti.

"The reports are saying there has been damage to crops so certainly it's not just short-term, it's a long-term thing as well."

Red Cross response teams were also in place in the Dominican Repulic and Cuba.

 

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller asked for evaluations of the disaster for Monday's Cabinet Meeting.

She pledged to ensure aid reached the "needy, not the greedy" in Parliament as the government received estimates that the clean-up operation would run to £34 million.

 

The latest figures indicated more than 3,500 families were affected in the three worst-hit parishes of Jamaica: St Thomas, St Mary and Portland.

 

Assessments by the IFRC and Jamaican government estimated almost 3,000 hectares of farmland had been damaged, putting the livelihood of 31,000 farmers at risk.

 

"By and large, the effects that were felt across the Caribbean and everywhere else affected have been significantly greater than what we had originally expected," Mr Guevara added.

 

He said 2,000 chicken coops had also been affected in Jamaica, where the poultry industry is an important source of income.

In Cuba, more than 15,000 homes had reportedly collapsed entirely with more than 130,000 homes affected.

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