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Crop devastation increases risk of hunger in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

 Banana crops destroyed along the way from Les Cayes to Jeremie in the southwest of Haiti

Banana crops destroyed along the way from Les Cayes to Jeremie in the southwest of Haiti
(Photo: Mamen Sancha / IFRC)

Nicole Robicheau is a Canadian aid worker currently deployed in Haiti with the IFRC in response to Hurricane Matthew

Since Hurricane Matthew hit the southwest of Haiti, not much remains of the crops that provided livelihoods for people living in the countryside. The hurricane hit during the second main harvest season, so it will take many months for crops to grow back enough to be eaten.

Eden Laroque, a farmer and Red Cross volunteer.“It takes a banana tree eight or nine months to grow,” says Eden Laroque, a farmer and Red Cross volunteer, pictured left.

Laroque borrowed 50,000 gourdes to start up his own nursery in the town of Les Anglais, growing and selling fruit trees. He had his own plantation and sold to organizations across the region. As everything was destroyed by the hurricane he has to start over again, but he doesn’t have money for seeds. For now he’s spending his days volunteering with the Red Cross.

The World Food Program puts the estimated loss of crops in some areas at 80 per cent, and this is likely to have a long term impact on food insecurity in the county.

Not far from the town of Les Anglais, Mulate Morpeau and his eight children and eight grandchildren are staying at a house along the main road in Roche-a-Bateau. He takes care of the house for someone who lives abroad. He and his family fled here after the hurricane. Morpeau depended on sorghum and corn to support his family. “Everything is ruined and we have no plans for what to do,” he says.

Along the same coast in Port-à-Piment, 78-year-old Georges Dit Bazin Rémi also lost all his crops. Luckily the walls of his house were strong enough to withstand the pounding, but he doesn’t know how he’ll be able fix his roof or generate an income. He’s sleeping on the concrete floor of his house because his mattress is ruined. For now, he says his children are sending food and water from Port-au-Prince.

“I’ve never lived through something like this in all my life,” he says.

After the immediate needs of people affected by hurricane Matthew, such as food, water, shelter and healthcare are met, the Haiti Red Cross, in partnership with sister National Societies and international organizations, will shift its focus onto long-term resilience and ensuring people affected by the disaster are able to re-establish reliable sources of income.

Canadians can help support those affected by Hurricane Matthew here.
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