The people of Haiti are bracing themselves for what could be one of the worst hurricane seasons on record.
The Atlantic hurricane season takes place every year between June and November. This year, an unprecedented nine tropical storms formed before August, and thirteen before September.
Haiti was hit by Tropical Storm Laura on Sunday 23 August. At least 21 people were killed, and many areas, including the capital Port-au-Prince, were flooded. The storm has since strengthened to a hurricane, causing a huge amount of destruction on the US coastline.
‘The storm seemed to have appeared overnight, says Marc Antoine, who leads Tearfund’s work in Haiti. ‘Many communities were unprepared for the rains that ensued.’
‘[It] has also caused damage to crops, which people were depending on for food. All of this comes in the wake of Covid-19 and a food insecurity crisis that has been increasing over the past year.
‘The pandemic exacerbated the food insecurity crisis for the most poor, because as daily wage earners they were not able to get out to work and therefore not able to get any income.’
‘The extreme limit’
Haiti is one of the poorest nations on earth, with more than 2.5 million people living in extreme poverty. Few have access to electricity, meaning they receive little warning before a storm hits.
People don’t have the resources to build homes able to withstand strong winds, and many people are forced to live in areas prone to flooding. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew killed over 500 people and left over 175,000 people homeless.
The climate crisis means that storms are increasing in both frequency and severity. For vulnerable communities like those in Haiti, this could mean disaster.
‘This flood and the fear of more rains and hurricanes in the coming months is not just a scary thought, but a crippling reality that’s pushing the most vulnerable to the extreme limit,’ says Marc.
Please join us in praying for the people of Haiti.
- Pray that the families affected are able to get the support they need, particularly those who have lost homes, jobs or crops.
- Pray that the farmers are able to salvage their crops, and that the recent storm won’t lead to food shortages.
- Pray that this year’s hurricane season will not be as bad as feared. And pray that governments around the world will take stronger action on the climate crisis.