PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Hundreds of thousands of people in southern Haiti are facing food shortages three months after Hurricane Matthew destroyed crops and livestock in the region, an international aid organization said Wednesday.
A "very poor" harvest is expected over the next two months in the South and Grand Anse departments of the southern Haitian peninsula, an area where most people depend on subsistence farming to survive, Oxfam said in a report calling for more support for a U.N. assistance fund.
The U.N. announced it would provide $139 million in assistance to the region, but that program is underfunded by 38 percent, the aid group said.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais on Oct. 4 as a Category 4 storm, causing widespread damage. The storm destroyed 80 percent of crops and much of the livestock in some of the hardest-hit parts of a region considered the breadbasket of the impoverished Caribbean country. The Haitian government put the death toll at 546.
"Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti in a matter of hours but has created a long-term catastrophe that will take the country years to recover from," Damien Berrendorf, country director of Oxfam in Haiti, said in the report.
More than 800,000 people are at an "extreme level of food insecurity," and an estimated 750,000 do not have safe water, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.