By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 16, 2016
Only six weeks ago, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti’s southern peninsula, leaving close to 600 people dead, thousands of homes destroyed, bridges and roads washed out, and over one million people in great distress. Ten days ago, another storm dumped a foot of rain in 48 hours on Haiti’s north, causing massive, destructive flooding in Cap Haïtien and at least 10 deaths.
Haiti’s verdant south provides much of the country’s food, but now “tens of thousands of acres of crop land and millions of fruit trees have been destroyed," said Ann Lee, the chief executive of J/P HRO, the humanitarian relief NGO founded by actor Sean Penn after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
This has raised the specter of famine. "If we don't manage to re-launch agriculture in three to four months, we'll find ourselves with a major food crisis," Haiti’s interim President Jocelerme told the BBC. "Our projection is that we need between $25 million and $30 million to resolve the farming issue. Right now we have $2.5 million."
It is in this catastrophic context that Haiti is rushing to hold elections on Sun., Nov. 20, despite the almost certain exclusion of thousands of storm victims. Run-offs are scheduled for Jan. 29, 2017.