In the Caribbean and on the East Coast, weather patterns continue to create havoc and Hurricane Sandy impacted many with a loss of life, power and destruction of property.
The Red Cross from the area has reached out to help those in need. For those in agriculture, we know what it’s like to be without power and have your life turned upside down by a storm. It’s tough to lose a crop or livestock due to ravages of a storm.
It was sad to learn of the number of deaths reported in Haiti due to Hurricane Sandy, where heavy rainfall caused devastating floods and landslides crushed buildings, wiped out roads and inundated farmland. "Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told Reuters, "so food security will be an issue."
Cuba took a direct hit, and 20 to 30 percent of the country's coffee farms were destroyed, according to Food World News. The worst damage occurred in the mountains, where 92 percent of Cuban coffee beans are grown, and it came just as the harvest normally peaks in late October and early November. Experts say Cuba may now produce less than 4,000 metric tons of coffee in 2012, its lowest output in more than a century. Sandy also struck hard in the Bahamas, where farmers lost crops such as bananas, cassava, tomatoes and watermelons.
Damage assessments remain under way in the U.S., with many towns still in disaster-relief mode. Some estimates suggest damage could exceed $20 billion. Yet the overall impact on U.S. agriculture may be less severe than in the Caribbean, since the summer growing season is over in cooler climates and many farmers sped up harvesting ahead of the storm.
In checking sources on the Internet, it appears the storm had minimal effects on agriculture in the Northeast. One of the experts noted that sweet potatoes in North Carolina could see a big impact. The state is the biggest producer of sweet potatoes, and they are a big deal as Thanksgiving approaches.
To find out what you can do to help, call 1-800-red cross (1-800-733-2767) or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-sal-army (1-800-725-2769).