Hurricane Matthew was the strongest natural disaster to hit the country in a decade, completely destroying towns and villages. Food reserves and roughly 300 schools have been damaged.
Haiti Liberte, a local news source of Haiti, estimates nearly two feet of rain impacted the area during Hurricane Matthew.
Reuters estimates that the death toll in Haiti is currently at 1,000 and rising, causing the community to create mass graves for their deceased. The death toll is continuing to rise due to the cholera outbreak in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Thousands are also displaced in the wreckage.
Cholera Rises in Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew
According to CNN, Haiti has the highest rates of Cholera worldwide. An estimated 10,000 people have died from the epidemic since 2010 when soldiers from the U.N. accidentally brought the disease to the area in the aftermath of an earthquake. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2016 that 880 new cases each week arise out of Haiti.
With cholera projected to increase in the aftermath of Matthew, WHO is sending one million cholera vaccines to the area in hopes of preventing an outbreak of the waterborne disease.
Developmental Struggles to Haitian Economy
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and the Western hemisphere. The New York Times reported that, prior to the devastation left by Hurricane Matthew, Haiti was on the path of developing into a more prosperous country. Cell phone services were widely enabled in the community, and farmers and businesses were improving.
Forests, swamps and other forms of vegetation are now ruined. Roadways are blocked and destroyed and homes are no longer standing as they once were. Only the mounds of stones that were used as the foundation for homes still stand in Jérémie, Haiti.
Minister of commerce and industry in the Grand Anse department Marie Roselore Auborg of Jérémie stated, “Instead of going forward, we have to restart…This storm leveled all of the potentials we had to grow and reboot our economy.”
BBC reported from U.N. officials and the Haiti government that widespread famine will impact Haiti in the three to four months to come if the situation is not addressed properly and promptly. Haiti Interim president Jocelerme Privert states that “real famine” following the “apocalyptic destruction” made by Hurricane Matthew could prevail.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is proactively responding to the crisis by investing $120 million in the three months following the hurricane to aid in the restoration of Haitian infrastructure and provide medical and famine relief.
France and the U.S. have pledged to send aid to Haiti. The American Red Cross is providing $6.9 million to aid in relief efforts as well.
– Haylee M. Gardner