Since Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti on October 3-4, communities have begun assessing the devastation and organizing recovery efforts. Below is an example of an assessment from the Southeast Department, followed by information from our partner, the National Congress of the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPNKP).
According to the Southeast Department Center of Emergency Operations, the first reported damage from the Category 4 storm was from the agricultural sector, where crops and irrigation canals were damaged or destroyed, along with roads, infrastructure and housing. Just to give examples from three communities in the Southeast:
- In Jacmel: 110 homes, two churches and a National School suffered damage; at least three people were injured and there was a widespread loss of livestock.
- In Marigot: More than 80 percent of the plantain crops were destroyed; coastal hotels and restaurants were damaged; loss of livestock; infrastructure damage due to a landslide.
- In Belle-Anse: Downtown was partially flooded; 30 homes destroyed and 50 damaged; one case of cholera; significant crop and livestock loss.
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, National programs coordinator of the MPNKP, provided us with the observations below:
1 – GENESIS.
At the end of last week, the Haitian authorities have announced that Hurricane Matthew rated number 4 on a scale of 5 was going to hit the country between October 3 and 4.
Indeed, the cyclone has effectively hit on October 3 and 4, resulting in significant damage to an estimated 75 percent of the country according to estimates.
2 – THE CONSEQUENCES OF CYCLONE MATTHEW
The scale of this disaster is not yet established but it devastated several departments of the country. Grande’Anse, South, Nippes, Southeast, Northwest, West, Artibonite and Centre. Only the North and the Northeast escaped the disaster.
More than 80 percent of the land in the four departments of Grande’Anse, South, Nippes, Southeast suffered damage. The western departments and Northwest are subject to 50 percent or more. In some areas, up to 90% of the houses, public buildings (such as schools, churches, health centers), and roads in the affected areas have been damaged.
In the Centre department, the plantations in the hills were devastated and many animals, especially the goats, have died.
The situation of the peasant sector is alarming according to the information coming to us from farmers’ organizations in the country. Farming families have lost everything in the affected areas: houses, plantations, fruit trees, forest trees, animals.
Last year 80 percent of the crops was lost [due to drought and other factors]. This year was looking better. Unfortunately, the fields were destroyed by flood and the products that were stored washed away with the houses.
According to the current US Ambassador in Haiti, who visited the area with the Haitian President, 1.5 millions people were affected and 350,000 are in an emergency situation. The MPNKP leader in Grand’Anse area informed us that there are 450 confirmed fatalities so far. He said 95 percent of the houses in the rural area with metal roof are destroyed or heavily damaged.
3 – CALL FOR SOLIDARITY
We are in constant communication with farmers’ organizations in all areas hit by Hurricane Matthew. They are primarily asking for national and international support to survive and secondly to help with the reconstruction of houses, the revival of agricultural production and rehabilitation of the environment.