Poor Haitian Farmers Are Left Hopeless After Storm – NYTimes.com.
Already Desperate, Haitian Farmers Are Left Hopeless After Storm
FAUCHÉ, Haiti — A woman who lost just about everything now gives her children coffee for meals because it quiets their stomachs a bit. Another despondent mother relives the awful moment when her 18-month-old baby was swept from her arms by a flash flood. The bodies of a family of five killed in a mudslide still sit in a morgue unclaimed.
Haitians, who know well the death and despair natural disasters can cause, suffered mightily from Hurricane Sandy, which bashed the country’s rural areas and killed at least 54 people.
Three weeks after the hurricane’s deluge, Haiti, still struggling to recover from the earthquake in January 2010, is facing its biggest blow to reconstruction and slipping deeper into crisis, United Nations and government officials say, with hundreds of thousands of others at risk of hunger or malnutrition.
All around this hamlet and others nearby, the men and women who farmed bananas, plantains, sugar cane, beans and breadfruit stare at fields swept of trees, still flooded or coated with river muck that will probably kill off whatever plants are left. They had little, have endured much, and now need more. Hardened by past disasters, they still fear the days and weeks ahead.
“I do not know where we will find money for food and school now,” said Olibrun Hilaire, 61, surveying his wrecked plantain and sugar cane farm in Petit-Goâve that supported his family of 10 children and grandchildren.
As if the quake were not enough, Haiti is now suffering the combined onslaught of storms and, before that, drought, imperiling its food supply, causing $254 million in agricultural losses and throwing 1.6 million people — about 16 percent of the population — into dire straits.
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