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Haiti pleads for international aid following Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 02, 2012 | 12:33 PM    

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, (CMC) — Haiti is appealing to the international community for help after Hurricane Sandy caused death and widespread damage during its passage near the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country late last month.

The death toll stands at 54 and is expected to count as disaster officials continue their assessment of the damage caused by the storm on the Caribbean country still recovering from the powerful earthquake in January 2010 that killed an estimated 300,000 people and left more than a million others homeless.

Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the Civil Protection agency said that two new bodies had been discovered.

“I am launching an appeal to international solidarity to come help the population, to help support the completion of our efforts towards saving lives and property,” Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said.

“What we’ve just heard is frightening. We should act quickly for the people and put ourselves to work to improve the situation. Without a doubt we don’t have enough means, but we must show we have the will,” he said, appealing for international assistance.

Hurricane Sandy drenched Haiti with more than 20 inches of rain and President Michel Martelly has declared a month-long state of emergency.

Haitian officials said that at least 21 people are still unaccounted for after the storm.

Early assessment indicates that the agricultural sector has registered a loss of more than US$104 million.

“Several thousand kilometres of agricultural roads were destroyed and thousands of heads of cattle were swept away by the flood waters, which also destroyed thousands of hectares of plantations,” Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas said.

Health Minister Florence Guillaume said “numerous cases” of cholera have also been reported in the wake of the storm.

Cholera can spread quickly in contaminated water, and it has killed more than 7,000 Haitians ever since the first case was recorded here in October 2010.

On Thursday, the government said that Venezuela has proposed building 5,000 homes and had already sent three planes and a boat loaded with 240 tons of food.

France has promised to rebuild seven destroyed bridges, while Mexico has offered food.

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