Hurricane Sandy Causes Deaths, Crop Damage in Haiti

Flooding from Sandy's trek through the Caribbean claimed the lives of 51 in Haiti and now threatens the viability of life-sustaining crops.

Posted: 10/29/2012 02:20 PM EDT

While the East Coast of the U.S. prepares for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, Haiti is just one of the Caribbean nations still reeling from the storm’s wake.

"This is a disaster of major proportions," Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told the Associated Press. "The whole South is under water."

The country suffered more than three days of constant rain that left roads and bridges heavily damaged, and left Haiti with the highest death toll from the storm in the Caribbean.

Extreme flooding in Haiti’s South has caused the deaths of 51 people since the storm made landfall last week and is responsible for extensive damage to crops in the area, at a time when Haiti is already under the stress of rising costs of food and overall living. Officials say that in hardest hit areas, main staples of the local diet such as bananas and breadfruit, were totally destroyed by the storm’s gusts.

"We'll have famine in the coming days," said Kechner Toussaint, mayor of Abricots, a hard-hit community on Haiti's Southwestern tip. "It's an agricultural disaster."

In addition to the immediate damage, officials now worry that the flooding could bring a spike in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases in the coming days and weeks. Hurricane Sandy was responsible for the destruction of concrete homes and tent camps that were home to nearly 370,000 people still reeling with the effects of the 2010 earthquake.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Swoan Parker)

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