Jamaica Slammed by Hurricane

Jamaican farmers are still reeling from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, a late-season tropical storm that slammed through the Caribbean earlier this week.

Jamaica, along with Cuba and the Bahamas, received much of the brunt of Sandy. According to agricultural officials, Jamaica may have suffered more than $700 million in agricultural damages, a significant figure for the small, island nation. In particular, the storm devastated farm roads and farm infrastructure, leaving many Jamaican farmers in a particularly vulnerable position.

“The estimates coming out of 11 parishes indicate that we have suffered some $700 million worth of damage and that does not include St Thomas, Portland, and parts of St. Catherine. Those areas were hit hard,” the Minister of Agriculture said.

While Jamaica focuses on recovery, storm watchers in the US are nervously observing Sandy’s path. While Florida and much of the Southeast may avoid serious damage (Sandy has already lost much of its power), the Northeast may not be so lucky. There exists a good chance that Sandy will merge with existing storm fronts in the Northeast, leading to a reinvigorated storm.

This is particularly bad news for Northeastern farmers still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Irene. Farmers are already being warned to harvest crops in the field and prepare for power and water shortages. However, there is little they can do to protect recently repaired roads and infrastructure.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer