Hurricane Irene killed two people in Haiti, flooded houses, cut roads, unleashed landslides and devastated farm fields during its passage off the coast of the Caribbean country earlier this week, the United Nations reported today.
Nearly 1,000 people were evacuated to emergency centres, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson Emmanuelle Schneider said in an update on the situation, citing local officials.
All alerts for Haiti have now been lifted in connection with the hurricane, which saw the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) mobilize some its 12,000 uniformed personnel in preparation for any emergency. The storm has since battered the Bahamas and is now headed towards the United States.
The UN has more than 100,000 tents and tarpaulins in readiness in Haiti, enough food in reserve to feed 500,000 people for a month, and a 30-day supply of medical kits for 10,000 people in the event of a crisis in a country that is still struggling to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.3 million others.
The situation was further compounded by last November’s Hurricane Tomas, which caused widespread flooding, unleashing a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds and infected some 20,000 people.
MINUSTAH has been in the country since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest.