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FAO estimates damage to agricultural sector in hurricane-hit Haiti at US$580 million

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 24, CMC – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)  has estimated damage to the agricultural sector in hurricane-hit Haiti to the tune of US$580 million.

On Wednesday, the UN said the FAO’s post-disaster assessments revealed “extensive” damage to crops, livestock and fisheries, as well as to infrastructure, such as irrigation, with the most affected areas having up to 100 percent crop damage or destruction.

According to FAO’s situation report on Haiti, food production and livelihoods have been “almost destroyed” in the southwest departments of Grand’Anse and Sud, where Hurricane Matthew first made landfall in early October.

“With much of the country 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, said the FAO report.

It also said that the hurricane “aggravated the effects of El Niño-related events,” including a drought that had already reduced food production and access to fresh water over the past year, severely impacting the capacity of Haitians to purchase food to eat or agricultural inputs to resume production.

Based on an emergency food security assessment, conducted by FAO, UN World Food Programme and Haiti’s National Commission on Food Security, 1.4 million Haitians are estimated to need humanitarian assistance, of which 806,000 are in need of urgent food aid.

In response to the humanitarian crisis in the French-speaking Caribbean country, the UN said FAO has deployed experts and other humanitarian personnel to its Haiti office and mobilized emergency resources to kick start immediate interventions.

FAO is also supporting affected families through the distribution of seeds and tools for the implementation of the winter staple crop season and short-cycle horticultural crops, targeting more than 25,000 households in the most affected parts of the country, according to the UN.

It said the agency will also distribute fishing equipment to fisher folks who have lost their livelihoods.

But the UN said the availability of funding continues to remain a challenge, stating that less than 40 per cent of the US$9 million required by FAO under the Haiti Flash Appeal has been received thus far, hampering its efforts to provide immediate crop, livestock and fisheries support to 300,000 hurricane-affected Haitians.

FAO has also developed a 12-month response plan, requesting US$30 million to support 600,000 severely food insecure people, but so far has received only US$1.5 million (5 per cent), the UN said.

  • Countries: Haiti