On Tuesday, I posted some suggestions for how people could help the victims of Hurricane Sandy here in the United States. I neglected to mention the horrific suffering in impoverished Haiti, which was pummeled by Sandy’s devastating trajectory before she hit US shores.
Three days of fierce rain and wind flooded about 100 camps where some 325,000 people, still homeless from the 2010 earthquake, continue to live. Tents and other makeshift shelters were inundated by water, poorly maintained latrines overflowed, stored food was ruined and garbage and waste were strewn everywhere.
The storm also ravaged the Haitian countryside, massively destroying crops, which will likely send food prices skyrocketing, making it even more difficult for Haitians who are already struggling to feed their families. Jean Debalio Jean-Jacques, Head of the Department of Agriculture, estimates that Sandy destroyed 70 percent of crops in southern Haiti and caused significant livestock losses. Johan Peleman, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ in Haiti, said that “there are approximately 1.2 million people who are facing food insecurity in the country.”
As the massive relief and recovery effort forges ahead in the US, the stalwart NGO the International Rescue Committee is acting fast in Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent camps are in desperate need of help.
The IRC has been on the ground doing critical work in Haiti since the devastating January, 2010 earthquake destroyed huge swathes of the country. In the last few days, with limited resources, the organization has provided emergency kits with shelter materials and hygiene items to 4,200 victims of the storm and distributions continue apace.