Above: flooding in Haiti (MINUSTAH Photo: Logan Abassi)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Approximately 1.2 million people in Haiti are facing food insecurity due to the residual effects of Hurricane Sandy, according to Johan Peleman, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ operation in Haiti.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 people’s houses in Haiti have been destroyed, damaged or flooded by the storm, the UN said.
The OCHA said it was “particularly concerned” because of the long drought that followed this year’s earlier severe storm, Tropical Storm Isaac.
“Now, with this new tropical storm, we fear that a great deal of the harvest which was ongoing in the south of the country may have been destroyed completely,” Peleman said Thursday. “Already, the drought and the previous storm had hit the northern part of the country very badly, and we had seen the levels of food insecurity rise there — with the south being hit now, we are going to face in the next couple of months very serious problems of malnutrition and food insecurity.”
Another 350,000 people in Haiti are still living in temporary camps for people displaced by Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
“The most vulnerable IDP’s [internally displaced persons] that were living in camps have been evacuated before the storm and we are now, with the humanitarian community and the UN family, repairing tents, handing out new tarpaulins so that they can go back to live in more favourable conditions because a lot of light structures were obviously completely destroyed by the storm,” Peleman said.
He also said that it was expected that the number of cholera cases in Haiti would surge.
“The country is relatively well-prepared, but it is also very vulnerable to this type of disaster, not just because of the poverty, but because of decades of deforestation and erosion,” he said.
The UN’s MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti is currently working with Haiti’s government to deal with the continued impact of the storm, from helping with logistics to clearing roads.