Hurricane Sandy Leaves Haitian Families Without Options

Kristene used to earn his living by milling flour near the town of Jacmel, but that ended when Hurricane Sandy smashed into Haiti earlier this month. He’s now among over 1.5 million Haitians unable to provide for themselves in the wake of a string natural calamities to hit the island this year.

JACMEL—Kristene is a man of few words. We ran into him as we surveyed the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in the town of Marigot, located about 40 kilometers from the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

At about 1:30 pm, and after the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, floodwaters entered Marigot destroying everything in its path. The houses that remained standing were uninhabitable. The trees and vegetation that could have held the floodwaters back had all been cut down for firewood.

"I can’t work and can’t earn money to support my family," said Kristene, whose flour mill was destroyed by the flooding. Even if it were still standing, he’d have no corn to mill as most of his neighbors lost all of their crops.

Flash appeal

Kristine is among 1.5 million Haitians no longer able to support themselves in the wake of three natural disasters this year. In addition to Hurricane Sandy, Haiti was hit by Tropical Storm Isaac in August which followed a severe drought earlier in the year.

As part of a UN Flash Appeal, WFP is requesting more than $US 20 million to fund emergency food distributions to some 100,000 affected Haitians and provide nutritional support to more than 100,000 children under the age of five as well as new and expecting mothers.

WFP aims to use these funds to support approximately 225,000 poor rural farmers –like Kristene—through food vouchers, cash-for-work, food-for-work or direct food distributions projects to create job opportunities and help them rebuild their livelihoods and key infrastructure until the next harvest in June 2013.