After the Storm: Haiti’s Coming Food Crisis
Far from global media headlines, tropical storms devastated Haiti during the recent hurricane season. In late August 2011, 19 people were killed when hurricane Isaac touched down. More than 50 more people were killed when Hurricane Sandy ripped through Southern Haiti in October 2012. Some 16 more people were killed in November 2012 during flooding in the northern city of Cap Haitien. And the impacts extended beyond death and injury: rain triggered mudslides throughout the country, washing out homes, roadways and bridges and bringing transportation to a near standstill. Compounding extensive protracted internal displacement generated by the 2010 earthquake, government officials estimate tens of thousands more were made homeless.
This Strategic Note examines the impacts of the storm on current and future food security in Haiti. In recent years, limited access to food coupled with rising food prices in Haiti’s urban areas have been a trigger for demonstrations – some violent – and are believed to have contributed to a spike in property crimes during the six weeks following the 2010 earthquake. Haiti has long struggled to transport enough produce from the countryside to village markets and major urban centers, in part owing to dilapidated public infrastructure, a reliance on small rural farms, and few paved roads.
This succession of natural disaster events has compounded existing challenges further still.