Hunger after storm
Hurricane Sandy’s damage in the Caribbean
(06.11.2012) Almost two weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy left a trail of destruction through the Caribbean islands Haiti and Cuba. Cleaning-up operations are in full swing in order to make the submerged streets accessible again and rebuild destroyed houses. However, the imminent food crisis poses the greatest risk to both countries.
“70 per cent of the harvest has been destroyed and in the agricultural sector alone, the damages add up to 120 million dollars. Most people survived the storm, but now their existence is threatened by hunger,” Dirk Guenther, Regional Director of Welthungerhilfe, describes the difficult situation on site. Following the earthquake two-and-a-half years ago, the people have already had to deal with the consequences of a drought and with the latest tropical storm Isaac this year. “Now, the entire harvest and, above all, the fields have also been destroyed again and the families have no reserves of any kind to survive this emergency as well. Without outside help, they will not be able to survive until the next big harvest in May,” says Guenther.
Cuba is likewise threatened by a severe food crisis as the hurricane destroyed those regions that are usually crucial for the country’s central food supply.
Welthungerhilfe supports the reconstruction efforts of the victims in Haiti and Cuba. A first step is the distribution of construction materials for repairing houses and of hygiene kits to prevent Cholera from spreading. In Haiti, the cleaning-up operations are connected with monetary compensation to enable the poorest to buy food. As a next step, farmers should be supported with seeds and tools in order to prepare the next sowing.