Hurricane Matthew Reeks Havoc on Haiti and its Future
by MarcusJoseph on November 5, 2016 - 1:07pm
As one of the strongest hurricanes since 2007 approached the Caribbean islands of Haiti and Jamaica, Hurricane Matthew caused chaos and destruction on the civilians living there. The torrential rain and strong winds of the outer reaches of the Category 4 Storm, ranked on the Saffir-Simpson scale out of 5, approached Haiti and Jamaica causing extreme alarm and even prompted residents to evacuate their homes located in the the more coastal cities before the brunt of the storm was imminent. As the Hurricane with winds that reached up to 235km/h passed over Haiti, it devastated the country with poor residential infrastructure, causing severe flooding, displacement, and the reported deaths of at least 877 Haitian people. The hurricane had also brought about other serious side effects, such as a surge of Cholera, and intense crop damage, which impacts the 66% of the population who depends on the soil for a living (Nations Encyclopedia 2016). The crop damage is an incredible loss for the country who relies on personal agriculture for a majority of their food, especially in a time of need after a natural disaster and has proved to be a massive problem for Haiti’s civilians, and their state, who is responsible for resource management.
Hurricane Matthew hit the island nation of Haiti and reeked havoc on the crops their country relies so heavily on. The hurricane hit at an especially poor time because it was during the second harvest season, meaning all the time and effort required to grow a bountiful crop has been wiped out from the storm. The destruction of the crops has many implications for the poor nation, but the largest responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Haitian government to restore stability and repair the once arable land.
Farming is the main source of income for Haiti’s Economy and their government must work to be able to continue to grow crops for both personal consumption and export. Haiti has a staples economy similar to Canada, where economic development is powerfully directed toward concentration on staples for export to more highly industrialized industries. When countries are apart of a staple economy, they can become highly dependent on their resources, and if they were to be exploited or destroyed, the economy would essentially fail. When Hurricane Matthew destroyed the crops of Haiti, the government was faced with multiple problems. As a state the government has five rationales they must uphold, generate income, ensure social stability, guide sustainable development, and manage conflict and uncertainty. Hurricane Matthew has therefore caused the state to not be able to export any products for income, not be able to provide food to its civilians and ensure social stability. The state is also faced with the uncertainty of how they will go about repairing their nation and the value conflicts they must deal with along the way. The destruction of crops also restarted Haiti’s ability as a nation to guide sustainable development and is in turn in a staples trap. These problems all require immediate action to help the members of Haiti but because governments usually want to know the result of their actions, and the following uncertainty surrounding how they will act can be damaging to their progress.
Countries that don’t have the economic stability that more western nations have, face an extremely hard time to build up enough money and resources to live a quality of life that is adequate after such terrible natural disasters. This brings light to the resource dependency that is created from a staples economy, the resource in this case being crops. Haiti is challenged with losing their main export and source of GDP along with all the associated implications for the already poorest country in the world. Haiti must restore their farmland and implement tools in order to better protect the nation from such other disasters. By introducing substantive policy tools there could be a larger focus on how to protect crops from such disasters, and future occurrences would have less severe effects.
This is an absolute tragedy to strike Haiti since the people and state cannot simply replace what has been taken from them, and are forced to essentially start their material lives from the beginning. This loss of economic wealth that arises from these natural disasters is causing the government extreme problems with their natural resource management and legitimizing them selves as a state. The rebuilding of a nation must begin immediately if the Haitian people are going to be able to return to their once normal lives.
Reuters, T. (2016, October 6). Hurricane Matthew Leaves Hundreds Dead in Haiti. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hurricane-matthew-haiti-death-toll-1.3794304
Nations Encyclopedia . (2016, January 1). Haiti Agriculture . Nations Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Haiti-AGRICULTURE.html