Unfortunately, the Sassier area was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, as was much of Haiti. Although the headlines focused on Sandy’s visit to the US Northeast, Haiti suffered significant damage from wind, rain and flooding from more than 20 inches of rain. The only road that connects most of the Grand Anse province (where Sassier is located) with the rest of Haiti is impassable, due to damage to a major bridge. The damage is still being assessed, but repairs may take weeks, or even months. The only alternative means of delivering food and other supplies to the Grande Anse province is via a ferry that comes only once a week. We are praying that the bridge is repaired quickly or the situation in the entire province will become quite dire.
Worse still, the rain and flooding destroyed the fall crops for many of the farmers, while the wind damaged many fruit and banana trees. Sandy is estimated to have destroyed 70% of the Fall harvest. When the community suffers financial losses due to these storms, it has a substantial effect on the Schools. Children still come to receive the Gift of Education, but their parents will not be able to pay the very minimal school fees. Our school lunch program will become even more important, as families struggle to feed their children when they have no crops to sell in December and January. Food prices have already increased by 10% from last year. We expect further increases as food supplies become harder to find and the damaged bridge increases transportation costs. The UN has already estimated that more than 1 million people in Haiti will be facing famine conditions in the next few months!