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article imageHurricane Sandy's Caribbean trip — devastation in Haiti and Cuba

By Anne Sewell     Oct 31, 2012 in World
As the world concentrates on the latest devastation in the US, Sandy has already done some serious damage to other countries, including Haiti and Cuba. Sandy took the lives of 54 people in Haiti and 11 in Cuba.
While in the Caribbean area, Hurricane Sandy also killed two people in the Bahamas, two in the Dominican Republic, one in Jamaica and one in Puerto Rico. Total death toll in the Caribbean is 71, with tens of thousands made homeless and little money available to rebuild.
Haiti is taking it especially hard. Just as they try to recover from one natural disaster, along comes another. With 54 people dead and and more than 200,000 homeless, Port au Prince is reeling from Sandy's devastating touch. People who are still living in tent cities after losing their homes in the earthquake have now lost their tents, as can be seen in this moving photo.
The United Nations will be appealing for emergency aid. Johan Peleman, head of the UN's office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs told the Guardian, "Haiti is trying to get its house in order, but each time disaster strikes, the progress is interrupted."
Devastation in Haiti by Hurricane Sandy
Devastation in Haiti by Hurricane Sandy
Video screen capture
"This country is exposed to devastating consequences by each storm. With every burst of rain, entire mountains are washed away."
In a country already devastated by the 2010 earthquake, Haiti was badly hit by Tropical Storm Isaac in August, with already 400,000 homeless, a cholera epidemic killed thousands and afflicted more than half a million people
While Sandy passed to the west of the country, it still did some devastation. The storm dumped more than 20 inches (51cm) of rain in 24 hours, causing rivers to overflow. With so much deforestation from previous disasters, the damage was severe. Now they can add a further 200,000 to Haiti's homeless, and during the storm nearly 17,800 people had to move to 131 temporary shelters.
According to Jean Debalio Jean-Jacques, Haitian Ministry of Agriculture official, Hurricane Sandy destroyed 70% of the crops in southern Haiti and caused widespread deaths of livestock.
Prime MInister Laurent Lamothe stated, “We are facing a major crisis.” The government fears that the latest disaster may increase the number of cholera cases with 86 new cases reported in the last month, and more expected with the current devastation.
Hurricane Sandy hit Jamaica briefly last Wednesday as a category 1 storm, with one person dead and dozens of families made homeless. According to the country's Prime MInister Portia Simpson Miller, the storm caused at least $16.5 million in damage.
Devastation in Cuba from Hurricane Sandy
Devastation in Cuba from Hurricane Sandy
Video screen capture
"Even before the hurricane we faced serious economic challenges. This has been made worse by the passage of Hurricane Sandy," Simpson Miller said.
Shortly afterwards, the storm went on to hit Cuba early on Thursday as a category 2 hurricane. In Santiago and Guantanamo provinces, 11 people were killed and 5,000 buildings were damaged including public buildings and schools. 30,000 other buildings lost their roofs.
On top of this, the storm badly damaged essential crops including coffee, beans, bananas and sugar. Five days later, Santiago was still without electricity or water.
Devastation in Cuba from Hurricane Sandy
Devastation in Cuba from Hurricane Sandy
Video screen capture
A resident, Alexis Manduley told Reuters, "Everything's destroyed in Santiago. People are going to have to work very hard to recover."
The Bahamas was also badly hit. According to a report from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, a risk pool for 16 Caribbean governments, the total cost of damage to private property and public infrastructure is expected to reach as high as $300 million.
This total would be higher than that from last year's Hurricane Irene, which caused around $250 million in damage.
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