Conflict & Justice

Haiti hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy


Haitians travel a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Thousands have been left homeless, while aid and supplies cannot reach some areas because roads have been destroyed.



Haitian President Michel Martelly handed out aid kits in the streets of ransacked Port-au-Prince this weekend, as Hurricane Sandy departed the Caribbean and barreled toward the US. 

In the wake of the hurricane, beleaguered Haiti faces continued devastation and the highest death toll in hurricane-affected areas, at 52 people.

In addition to the nearly 400,000 people still homeless after the earthquake, another 17,000 have been again rendered homeless and were placed in shelters, reports the Miami Herald. Besides houses that either collapsed or were washed out to sea, several fields of crops have been destroyed. 

Cholera is also a major concern, as water flooded the camps and shanty towns around the capitol. 

Time reports that the International Organization for Migration has said, "while it’s too early to determine the extent of cholera’s spread in Sandy’s wake, a surge in new cases — 117 reported so far, 99 of them in the earthquake-survivor camps — has been confirmed in Port-au-Prince."

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According to Pierre-Evens Alexis, mayor of the southern town of Meniche, there have been an estimated 78 cases of cholera reported in that area and eight people have died. Treatment is unavailable because roads have been either blocked by debris or destroyed. 

Reuters said, "Aid organizations began reporting a sharp rise in suspected cholera cases in several departments, with at least 86 new cases alone coming from Port-au-Prince's earthquake survivor camps." Dr. Juan Carlos Gustavo Alonso of the Pan American Health Organization said , "Many communities are still cut off and only accessible by helicopter, so the broader rise in cholera was 'still too early to tell.'"

Cholera has been a very serious concern since 2010, when the disease was allegedly brought by foreign UN peacekeeping forces. Since that time, an estimated 600,000 people have been infected and 7,400 have died in Haiti.

“There’s no water, no food, and people have lost their homes,” Alexis told Time magazine. 

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Supplies sent to Haiti after Hurricane Isaac this summer have not been replenished, and fears of a famine are growing as aerial surveys continue to report lost crops and flooded fields. 

"The economy took a huge hit," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told Reuters. "Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy," he said, "so food security will be an issue." 

The coffee crop, just weeks away from being ready to harvest, was destroyed, leaving many farmers without their sole source of income. There have already been widespread protests against the rising cost of food in Haiti, and many fear the real devastation from the hurricane haven't been felt yet. 

He said Haiti will be appealing for international aid. 

For more of GlobalPost's reporting on Haiti, check out our Special Report "Fault Line: Aid, Politics and Blame in Post-Quake Haiti."