Death toll climbs as rains continue to affect Haiti

June 06, 2023

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Jun 6, CMC – The death toll from the heavy rains which have been pounding the French Caribbean Community (CARICOM) island of Haiti since the last weekend, climbed to 42 with 11 others missing, Haitian authorities have confirmed.

Head of the Civil Protection Office (DPC), Jerry Chandler, in a provisional report said that at least 12,779 families have been affected with an estimated 13,633 houses flooded in several departments.

“The biggest impact was the West region (metropolitan area). The other ecologically vulnerable regions of the country that have suffered heavy damage are: the North West; Nippes; and the South-East.”

The provisional report showed that 85 people have been injured following the rains which have been pounding the country since June 1 and expected to continue during this week.

Prime Minister Dr. Arield Henry has already indicated that his government is seeking international assistance to respond to the needs of the population affected by the rains that have ave caused several rivers to overflow their banks resulting in floods, and landslides in many areas.

“My government, in concert with national and international institutions, is taking urgent measures in order to meet the demands of the hour,” he said in a  Twitter posting.

Chandler said that security remains a concern as the authorities attempt to respond to the disaster while trying to manoeuvre through gang-controlled territory to bring aid to the population.

He said damage assessment is ongoing and emergency response teams are being mobilised and trying to support affected communities. Alongside UN aid groups, civil protection volunteers are slowly deploying shelter, food and sanitation facilities, as well as drinking water for those affected.

The Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti, Jean-Martin Bauer, said although it is not a hurricane or a tropical storm but a strong depression, considerable damage has been reported in the affected areas.

“The humanitarian community is working alongside national institutions to come to the aid of those affected,” he said, adding “I’m particularly concerned about this situation when the Haitian population is already facing great vulnerabilities

“The humanitarian response plan is still too weak financed with only 20 per cent of the necessary budget received. I call for solidarity with the Haitian people from all donors to ensure the financing of this plan which will be critical in the response to these floods and the preparation for the next bad weather,” Bauer added.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it would “start providing hot meals to displaced people in the coming hours and are mobilising ready-to-eat rations and dry food”.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that flooding could resume with more rain in coming days.

“In the event of another heavy rainfall, the waterlogged soils will be unable to prevent further flooding, rockslides and landslides, and the provisional death toll could rise even higher,” it said.

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