Tropical Storm Isaac brought more death and damage to Haiti in the final weekend of August as the beleaguered Caribbean nation is still recovering from a 2010 earthquake.
Haitian officials say 24 persons have died as a result of the storm. According to the Associated Press, some were electrocuted and others were crushed by falling roofs and other objects. But many were the victims of flooding and mudslides, to which the nation is prone due to heavy deforestation.
In the southeastern and western sectors of the country, high winds, flood waters and landslides caused extensive damage to bridges, roads and temporary shelters, such as tents and tarps, in which 390,000 refugees from the massive earthquake continue to live. More troublingly, officials said, the storms destroyed many crops.
“Coming after the drought in the north, we are worried it’s likely to have a negative impact on food security,” said George Ngwa, communications manager for the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as quoted in a Miami Herald story.
Making matters worse, destroyed roads have cut off access to certain communities. Such is the case in the rural town of Jacmel, which was separated from nearby mountaintop villages when the Fesles Marigot Grand River washed away a huge portion of the connecting road.
“This is something that is terrible,” resident Bellande Sanon told the Miami Herald as he watched public buses being forced to turn back. “Every area on the other side of this river will suffer. These are the areas that provide the most food in the region. Now, hunger will increase.”
According to numerous official sources, not only will hunger likely increase, but also displacement and disease.
According to a report by the Department of Civil Protection, an estimated 15,000 people are housed in shelters as a result of the storm.
Additionally, according to the Pan American Health Organization, 140 new cases of cholera were reported since Isaac made land fall in Haiti.
According to the United Nations, humanitarian efforts are already underway.
“In support of the Government’s coordination mechanisms, and depending on the scope of the needs, the humanitarian community is ready to provide further assistance for the distribution of potable water, Aquatabs , non-food and food items, therapeutic nutrition supply, hygiene kits, and cholera response kits, among others,” the UN said in a press release.