At least four people are dead and two others are missing in Haiti, where heavy rains over three days created severe flooding in the south and northwest regions, and devastated crops as the country continues to battle severe hunger.
Already wrestling with an outbreak of cholera, Haiti’s health sector also fears the spread of the waterborne disease and others in some areas as rivers and coastal areas remain flooded and roads remain cut off.
“Traffic remains difficult in downtown Port-de-Paix due to the accumulation of mud in the streets,” the Office of Civil Protection said Monday in its latest disaster report on the weather event. “The Chardonnières communal cemetery is flooded. Several graves are destroyed or damaged.”
The devastation is particularly concerning in the southwest, where many people were living under tarps after being displaced by a devastating earthquake on Aug. 14, 2021. As the tropical system approached over the past few days with life-threatening rains and 35 mph sustained winds, many people were forced to evacuate.
Three of the deaths from the storms were in the southwest. The disaster response office said two men died while trying to cross the Acul river and an elderly man died the city of Camp-Perrin, near Les Cayes. In the southeast a woman was swept away by the waters in the commune of Grand Gosier. Her body was found and buried by local authorities in the community of Mapou. In Pestel in the Grand’Anse region, two men were swept away by a flooded La Hatte river, in the town of Tozia.
“No body has been found so far,” the disaster response agency said.
At least 420 homes have been damaged due to rising water, and Haiti’s agricultural sector took a major hit, including areas that grow millet, congo peas and bananas.
Initially, the storm system had been expected to become a tropical cyclone, bringing flash floods to Cuba, Jamaica and the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Though the chances of the disturbance strengthening decreased by Friday, a vulnerable Haiti still was saw devastation.
On Monday, the disaster office said that in the region of the Nippes, situated between Les Cayes in the southwest and Jérémie, 84 residents, including children, remained in shelter at the O’Rouck National School in Anse-à-Veau.
And while traffic had been restored along National Road #7, which connects Les Cayes and Jérémie, a section of a road in the southeast linking Jacmel to Belle-anse remains blocked at Morne Lacet.
“Floods are recorded in Beaumont in Grand’Anse, in Baradères and at the bottom of the town of Miragoâne in Nippes,” the disaster office said.
In the southeast the Ti Pen and Moreau rivers, which swept away an all-terrain vehicle, caused considerable damage, according to initial assessments.
Late Monday morning, there was still light rain in the north and northeast regions of the country. Residents were reminded to remain vigilant and stay away from rising rivers.
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