Downpours ruin spring harvest in beleaguered southwest Haiti

Flooding in southwest Haiti has wiped out as much as 80 per cent of the spring harvest in a beleaguered region that is nearly completely dependent on farming, officials said Friday.

About five days of rain saturated swaths of the Caribbean region and triggered flooding across southwest Haiti, drowning crops and causing at least four deaths in the area that was overwhelmed by Hurricane Matthew last year.

Enzo Di Taranto, the head of Haiti’s U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the destructive downpours that finally tapered off on Monday “certainly came at a very bad time.” The 80 per cent figure was an initial estimate provided by Haitian authorities in the region, he said.

The rugged region’s farmers were given seeds after Matthew hit in October so they could start reaping corn and beans now. But the rains that tapered off Monday have ruined the harvest or left gravel and other debris scattered on cultivated fields where planting was set to take place.

“Nature isn’t giving the people any slack,” said Hervil Cherubin, country director for Heifer International, an international nonprofit working with farmers in Haiti.

Following Matthew’s destruction, Haitian and international agricultural officials said it could be a decade or more before the southwestern peninsula recovers economically. In the Grand-Anse department, nearly all crops and half the livestock were destroyed by Matthew, according to the World Food Programme.

When the hurricane hit, the southwest area was just starting to recover from a drought that had decreased crop production by half.

Cherubin said Haiti needed to learn from countries such as Bangladesh that face heavy rains and flooding each year but mitigate the risks with watershed management, reforestation and other strategies.

“We can’t do emergency work every day,” he said. (AP)

5 Responses to Downpours ruin spring harvest in beleaguered southwest Haiti

  1. Tish Forde
    Tish Forde April 29, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Carline Paris

    Reply
  2. Peggy Stoute Morin
    Peggy Stoute Morin April 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

    My heart breaks for Haiti.

    Reply
  3. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner April 29, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Simple question but after earthquake 2010 billions of dollars was collected for Haiti so why has nothing change get better,something ain’t adding up period.

    Reply
    • Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
      Cherylann Bourne-Hayes April 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Probably because people in charge of the country and others help themselves to it.

      Reply
  4. Mikey April 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    @Rawle Spooner, do You know of any politicians who do not “HELP’ themselves to money sent to help the people ?
    Do You have to SEE them stealing it ?

    Reply

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