[Environment] DISASTERS: HURRICANES : COUNTRIES: HAITI : ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE : AGRICULTURE : SUSTAINABILITY : ECONOMY : ECONOMIC IMPACTS: A Decade of Crop Loss from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

 

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DISASTERS: HURRICANES :

COUNTRIES: HAITI :

ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE :

AGRICULTURE :

SUSTAINABILITY :

ECONOMY :

ECONOMIC IMPACTS:

A Decade of Crop Loss from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

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A Decade of Crop Loss from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

By Ben Fox and David Mcfadden

Associated Press (AP)

October 14 at 7:16 PM

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/
a-decade-of-crop-loss-from-hurricane-matthew-in-haiti/2016/10/14/
dd47c42a-9235-11e6-bc00-1a9756d4111b_story.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/hdc3vhu

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LES CAYES, Haiti  As Hurricane Matthew roared across southwestern Haiti, Joselien Jean-Baptiste huddled with his family while the wind whipped at his little house. When it was finally safe to venture outside at dawn the 60-year-old farmer realized his troubles had only just begun.

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The storm knocked down part of the house where he lives with his wife and six children outside of Les Cayes, leaving only a small section of corrugated metal still intact. But that was the least of his problems. The field he had worked for 25 years was a scene of violent upheaval. His rice was swamped with river water; the mango and breadfruit trees were split like matchsticks; his corn flattened or torn from the ground by fierce winds.

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It is going to take us a long, long time to get back on our feet, Jean-Baptiste said.

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Haitian and international agricultural officials say it could be a decade or more before the southwestern peninsula recovers economically from Hurricane Matthew, which struck hard at the rugged region of more than 1 million people that is almost completely dependent on farming and fishing.

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The Civil Protection agency said Friday that the death toll from Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall here on Oct. 4, had risen to 546, though it was likely to climb higher as reports continued to trickle in from remote areas. Likewise, the statistics about economic losses are still approximate, but appear to be catastrophic.

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In the Grand-Anse region, nearly 100 percent of crops and 50 percent of livestock were destroyed, according to the World Food Program. On the outskirts of Les Cayes, where Jean-Baptiste lives, more than 90 percent of crops were lost and the fishing industry was paralyzed as material and equipment washed away, the organization said.

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Re-planting vegetable crops can be done relatively quickly and rice fields begin to recover as floodwaters recede, but the loss of mature fruit trees that families nurtured for a generation is a staggering blow. It will take at least 10 years for nature to do what it needs to do to grow the trees back, said Elancie Moise, an agronomist and senior agriculture ministry official in the south.

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snip

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International aid groups say the widespread crop damage will require an influx of seed packs for replanting once the immediate needs of emergency water, food and medicine are met.

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We are aware that it will be more effective to distribute seeds to farmers timed with their next planting season, in early 2017, ideally with fertilizer or compost to help replenish the soil which has been flooded in saltwater, said Jean-Claude Fignole, a senior Oxfam official in Haiti.

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A flash appeal for Haiti issued by the U.N. humanitarian agency in Geneva was not getting anywhere near the level of support officials are seeking, with only about 5 percent pledged so far of the $120 million requested. The lack of immediate help has caused frustration, with some people in the village where Jean-Baptiste lives just east of Les Cayes trying to force an aid truck to stop and clashing with peacekeepers on a recent afternoon.

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Everything is gone here, he said, people are going to just leave.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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