Haiti - Situation report - 12 October 2016

IN NUMBERS

1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance
90 percent of crops damaged in hardest-hit areas
USD 9 million needed to support 300 000 people

Key points

  • Damages produced by Hurricane Matthew to crops, livestock and fisheries are expected to be dramatic. Preliminary assessments indicate that almost 100 percent of crops were destroyed in Grande-Anse and more than 90 percent in Sud departments. With much of Haiti relying on subsistence production to meet their food needs, restoring agriculture- and fishery-based livelihoods is critical to avoid dependency on food aid in the coming months.

  • Preliminary results of the partial assessment conducted by the Agricultural Departmental Detections together with FAO and partners in the six most affected departments (Sud, Grande-Anse, Sud-Est, Ouest, Nord-Ouest) indicate that a total of 350 350 animals were lost.

  • Affected families urgently need food and agricultural assistance – including seeds, planting materials and farming equipment – to avoid food shortages and be ready for the winter planting season starting in November.

  • A Flash Appeal was issued to provide immediate support to 750 000 affected people for the next three month. Under this framework, FAO requires USD 9 million to provide immediate crop, livestock and fisheries support to 300 000 hurricane affected people. The medium- to long-term recovery costs will be greater, but estimates are not available at this time.

Background

On 3 October 2016, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew, the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic since Hurricane Georges in 1997, cut a path of destruction across Haiti, carrying devastating winds, heavy rainfall and widespread damage in the southwest of the country: the most affected departments are Grande-Anse, Sud, Sud-Est and Nippes. The death toll from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti is rising at least 336 have died and cholera is spreading. An estimated 2.1 million Haitians (more than 20 percent of the population) were affected and 1.4 million are in need of assistance.

Challenges Facing Food and Agriculture

Damages to crops, livestock and fisheries as well as rural infrastructure, particularly marketplaces and water- irrigated perimeters, are extensive. In the most affected areas, up to 100 percent of crops were damaged or destroyed and pastures to feed livestock have also been affected. The death of small livestock has diminished vital sources of animal protein, and sheds and fences will need repairing. Assessments are ongoing.

Subsistence agriculture – a primary food source for most Haitians – was especially hit. A large proportion of Haiti’s rural population is engaged in agriculture, relying on their own production to meet their food needs. Some cyclone-hit areas saw the total destruction of fruit-bearing and other trees, as well as backyard vegetable gardens.

Affected families need urgent support to avoid food shortages and quickly replant fast-growing crops. With many subsistence crops ruined and community markets either damaged or inaccessible, the availability of meat and fresh produce is increasingly limited. Farming and fishing families risk becoming dependent on food aid in the coming weeks if they are not supported to restore their livelihoods.

The hurricane has aggravated the effects of El Niño-related events, including a drought which has already diminished food production and access to fresh water over the past year. The combined effects will further reduce peoples’ capacity to purchase food to feed their families, or agricultural inputs in order to resume production.