United Nations: Haiti has food shortage

UNITED NATIONS – Haiti has more than a million people who cannot get enough to eat because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, according to the United Nations.

The storm killed more than 50 people in Haiti as it churned through the Caribbean last week on its way to a deadly and destructive blast along the United States’ East Coast.

Relief workers are trying to make a full assessment of Sandy’s impact on Haiti. But for now, it is known the storm destroyed, damaged or flooded residences of up to 20,000 people, Johan Peleman, head of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, told the UN’s website.

Northern Haiti endured a long drought this year and took a hit from Hurricane Isaac in August. Now, there are fears that harvests being collected in the south of the country have been destroyed by Sandy.

“With the south being hit now, we are going to face in the next couple of months very serious problems of malnutrition and food insecurity,” Peleman told UN Radio.

In Haiti, there were still 350,000 people living in tent camps set up after the 2010 earthquake. They were evacuated before Sandy, but the storm destroyed much of the fragile housing in those camps, Peleman added.

Sandy rendered roads unusable in West Haiti, making it hard to reach people in need, and water holes and sanitation systems need to be drained to prevent outbreaks of disease, mainly cholera.

That disease is endemic in Haiti and a rise in cases is expected, Peleman said.

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe issued an appeal for international aid last week. He said the agricultural sector alone suffered more than US$104 million in losses.

Haiti is still rebuilding after the massive 2010 earthquake that leveled much of the capital, left hundreds of thousands homeless and killed more than 200,000 people.

[AFP (Haiti), 03/11/2012; The Miami Herald (United States), 05/11/2012]

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