The Effect Of Hurricane Matthew In Haiti

Emma Burstiner, Staff Writer

Hurricane Matthew may not have detrimentally hit the northeast, but it definitely harmed most of the people living in the Dominican Republic, specifically Haiti.  This hurricane was powerful, and it ruined many homes, buildings, and caused distress across the island.  The hurricane was considered Category 4 when it hit Haiti, and it led to major food shortages, and panic among people.  There were staggering death rates because of these dangerous conditions. There were hurricane force winds within 40 miles of the center of Matthew, and there were tropical storm force winds within 185 miles outside of the hurricane’s center. Landfalls were caused on the island’s land due to the life threatening rain, wind, and storm surge.(McNoldy, 2016)  Only one week after the hurricane hit, the death toll had climbed to over 1,000 people (NASA, 2016)  The United Nations has been working hard to send organizations with medical help to Haiti, in order slow down the rising death rates, bring food, and save more of the people who are facing serious medical conditions.

There is a major need for food assistance in Haiti, because of this tragedy’s occurrence. 1.4 million people were in need of food after the hurricane hit, and of those people nearly 800,000 were in dire need.  Not only were the resources of citizens living on the island damaged, but the crops that usually grow were also destroyed. There was up to a 100 percent loss in the crops that grow because of the powerful winds and abundance of heavy rain. According to Alexis Masciarelli, a member of the World Food Program, “…everything is just gone.”  All of the fruit crops that are vital to the economy have been destroyed. He stated that,“bananas usually grow back in about a year, but coconut and mangoes take years to come back.”  This will make food for the people living in Haiti harder to afford, but it will also be detrimental to businesses and the Haitian economy.

About 3,000 metric tons of food have been delivered to the island,  although this amount of food has been calculated to only feed 200,000 out of the 800,000 people. It has been challenging for organizations such as the World Food Program to deliver the food to these areas as well because the heavy rains led to extremely heavy and powerful floods. The people were in such need of food that when you walked on the island you could see them eating whatever they could find off of the ground, as stated by Masciarelli. Organizations are doing their best to receive donations and money that will allow them to transport the food to areas that are in most need.