Flooding kills one person and damages thousands of homes in Haiti

At least one person is dead and four are missing in Haiti after rains triggered mudslides and flooding that damaged more than 10,000 homes, the country’s Civil Protection Office said Monday.

Edgard Celestin, a spokesman with the office, said a man was helping a person cross the Dame Marie River in the country’s Grand’Anse Department when both were swept away by the river’s overflowing waters. One body was found, and the other person is still missing, Celestin said. Also, three farmers went missing in the bad weather.

The rains also triggered a mudslide in Port-de-Paix. But the heaviest damage to property was in northern Haiti, where 10,000 homes between Cap-Haitien and Limonade were damaged by flooding, said Jean-Henri Petite, coordinator of the Civil Protection Office for northern Haiti.

Petite said the rains started on Saturday. He said the rains weren’t that heavy, but poor drainage in Cap-Haitien and an overflowing river triggered the second major flooding incident in the city in recent weeks.

The rains and flood damage came as the El Niño weather phenomenon has led to some of the worst drought conditions in Haiti in years. The country is currently facing its worst food crisis since 2001. The World Food Program and Haiti’s National Food Security Coordination Unit say farmers are facing up to 70 percent crop losses as a result of the drought. The losses have doubled the number of food-insecure people in the country since September.