The death toll in Haiti’s floods has risen to at least 42. Another eleven people were missing, 85 were injured, the civil protection authority of the Caribbean state said on Monday (local time). Heavy rain over the weekend had caused flooding and landslides in several parts of the country. According to civil protection, more than 13,600 houses were flooded.
The region around the capital Port-au-Prince was particularly affected. In the nearby coastal town of Léogâne, 19 deaths were registered, as reported by the Juno7 portal, citing civil defense chief Jerry Chandler.
“My government, together with national and international institutions, is taking urgent action to meet the demands of the day,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry said in a government statement on Sunday. Aid organizations deliver food to the people who had to flee the floods. At the same time, civil protection officials warned that the agricultural sector was badly damaged in parts of the country.
According to the World Food Program, tens of thousands of people have been affected. “A severe weather-related event of this magnitude so early in the hurricane season raises concerns about the ability to sustainably respond if extreme weather events continue,” the organization warned.
Poverty, gang crime, natural disasters
The deadly floods hit Haiti, the poorest country on the American continent, in the worst possible situation. Fighting between rival criminal gangs is raging across much of the country, hampering rescue efforts.
In addition, Haiti repeatedly experiences severe natural disasters – including devastating earthquakes like that of 2010, in which more than 200,000 people lost their lives. Deforestation, primarily for charcoal, also makes the state, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, more vulnerable to landslides.
Hurricane season has just begun in the region – it lasts from June to November. Arlene, the first tropical cyclone of the season strong enough to be named, formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. It weakened to a storm near Cuba’s west coast on Saturday.
mak/wa (rtr, ap, dpa, afp)