Representatives of Foreign Missions from countries across the Western Hemisphere today met at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC to assess the damage to Haiti following the passage of Isaac.
The meeting, convened by the Chairman of the Haiti Task Force, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, also brought together representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Several European Observer States were also present.
According to Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, who addressed the group following direct conversations with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, the meeting was convened to seek specific support for the agriculture and livestock sectors, which have been hit hard by the storm. Preliminary reports presented at the meeting indicate that over 81,000 hectares under cultivation have been damaged, including crops of bananas, coffee, avocado and citrus. Initial assessments also indicate approximately 242 million dollars worth of damage to Haiti’s agriculture and agricultural infrastructure.
Governments of several OAS Member States, including the neighboring Dominican Republic, have begun to mobilize support. Representatives of the Dominican Republic informed the meeting that mobile food units have been sent across the border to provide meals to tens of thousands of people who have been affected by the storm. Other Member States have pledged to facilitate and coordinate the movement of heavy agricultural equipment to replant crops.
In expressing condolences to the people of Haiti, OAS Assistant Secretary General, recognized the significant efforts by the Government of Haiti to evacuate close to 15,000 people from communities at risk including those living in tent cities "This is the first time an evacuation of this scale has been carried out, and so quickly."