Haiti, Irma, and Climate Change
Over the past few days we’ve been asked repeatedly about Hurricane Irma’s affect on Haiti. Fortunately, Irma did not affect southern Haiti where Sam and his kids live. However, northern Haiti was impacted, though not to the extent that southern Haiti was impacted by Hurricane Matthew last year. For more, please read the article below, which appeared on the Center for Economic & Policy Research’s website.
Haiti, Irma, Climate Change, and Priorities
Written by Jake Johnston
Published: 12 September 2017
At least one person died, one remains missing, and more than a dozen were injured by the passage of Hurricane Irma off the northern coast of Haiti last week. As of September 11, nearly 6,500 Haitians remain in emergency shelters, according to the United Nations. Preliminary figures suggest that flooding impacted 22 communes, completely destroying 466 houses and badly damaging more than 2,000 more. As veteran AFP correspondent Amelie Baron noted on Twitter, “These are the damages of a hurricane passing hundreds of kilometers away from [the] Haitian coast.”
Compared to some other Caribbean nations, the damage to Haiti’s infrastructure pales. But as Jacqueline Charles reported for the Miami Herald, looks can be deceiving:
Though Haiti was spared a direct hit from Irma and the fallout is nowhere near the magnitude of Matthew’s 546 dead and $2.8 billion in washed-out roads, collapsed bridges and destroyed crops, the frustration and fears for some in its path are no less.
“We didn’t have people who died, but homes and farms were destroyed,” Esperance said. “Just because you don’t see a lot of damages, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been left deeper in misery.”
Charles reported that “entire banana fields lay in ruin” across Haiti’s northern coast. “It took everything,” one local farmer said. As Charles points out, even before Hurricane Irma, Haiti was facing an extreme situation of food insecurity. Last October Hurricane Matthew swept across the southern peninsula, devastating crops and livelihoods and leaving some 800,000 in need of emergency food assistance. Even before Matthew, the World Food Program reported that Haiti was facing its worst food security situation in 15 years. Charles writes: Continued on CEPR Website