Storms and trade winds 2

November 3, 2012

Here are more pictures about the impact of hurricane Sandy (huracán Sandy) on the Caribbean nations of Haiti and Cuba.


Although the world’s attention has mostly focused on the hurricane’s impact in the USA, the suffering and long-term consequences for Haiti are far greater because so many people already lived permanently on the edge of a catastrophe. 78 percent of Haitians survive on less than two US$ a day.

OCHA, the UN relief agency, states that two million people in Haiti are at risk of malnutrition.

The country has the world’s worst cholera epidemic with 6 percent of Haitians affected. Since the storm passed by there were three new deaths and almost 300 suspected cases. To respond to the rush of new cases, Médecins Sans Frontières have opened an extra cholera treatment centre in Carrefour, where the tents are now almost completely filled with 160 patients, including many young children.

3.6 percent of the population in Port-au-Prince are still living in tents, these people are very vulnerable to storms and floods. Many of the 3,500 residents of the Marassa camp in Port-au-Prince for instance had to seek shelter in a fire station, because their tents were ripped apart or washed away by the storm. Community leaders say that cholera and hunger stalk the camp residents, starvation had claimed one life shortly before Sandy struck. Aid groups such as Oxfam have helped, but humanitarian support has ebbed in the past two years.

In the village of Jacquet in the district of Gantheir, an hour north-east of Port-au-Prince, the hurricane turned muddy roads and paths into deep, fast running streams. About three-quarters of the 2,800 inhabitants had their homes destroyed. Most of the homes and also the new school were built from the same mud that cascaded down from the deforested mountainside. All that is left of the school are a few dozen breeze blocks, upended desks and a twisted blackboard that still shows the lesson notes “history needs its documents” chalked up in French. The nearby farm fields, barns, and greenhouses are now filled with mud and rocks.



Cuba was even more severely affected by the hurricane, with power outages for more than 890,000 people and 200,000 damaged or completely destroyed homes. 370 health centers, several hospitals,  2,100 schools, and the nations largest train station in Santiage were damaged. Some remote communities are still difficult to reach because of destroyed roads and bridges.

Electrical workers from all over the country have moved to the most affected areas in the east of the island and work without pause to restore power. The Electric Transformer Manufacture in Granma province increased the production by adding additional shifts, the workshop was supplied with enough raw material to produce another 300 transformers and repair the units which are not too severely damaged. Construction workers started building temporary houses and materials for the repair and replacement of roofs have been brought into the disaster areas.


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