Effects of Hurricane Georges in Haiti
The effects of Hurricane Georges in Haiti included $200 million in damages and at least 400 fatalities.
|Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)|
|Winds||1-minute sustained: 75 mph (120 km/h) |
|Pressure||990 mbar (hPa); 29.23 inHg|
|Fatalities||At least 400 total|
|Damage||$200 million (1998 USD)|
|Part of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season|
Hurricane Georges began as a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa during mid-September 1998. Tracking westward, the wave spawned an area of low pressure two days later, which quickly strengthened into a tropical depression. On September 16, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Georges, and to Hurricane Georges the next day. The storm reached its peak intensity on September 20 with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), just below Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
Over the following five days, the hurricane tracked through the Greater Antilles, causing over 600 fatalities, mainly in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. By September 25, Georges entered the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm made landfall three days later near Biloxi, Mississippi with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). Upon landfall, the hurricane's forward motion slowed to an eastward drift. Georges dissipated on October 1 near the Atlantic coast of Florida.
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Upon reaching Haiti, Georges was a weakened hurricane, but it still brought heavy rainfall across the entire country. The capital city of Port-au-Prince was largely unharmed, with the exception of flooding in low-lying coastal areas, damaging the main commercial port. The rest of the country, however, experienced a significant number of mudslides due to deforestation along the mountains. These mudslides destroyed or severely damaged many houses, leaving 167,332 homeless. Damage was greatest along the northern coastline from Cap-Haïtien to Gonaïves due to the flooding and mudslides. On the southern coast, the head of a U.S.-based medical team, stranded for several days by flooding in the remote town of Belle Anse, anticipated a rise in malnutrition, disease, homelessness and poverty. Lack of electricity led to a total disruption of Haiti's water supply system, causing a decrease in sanitary conditions across the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In all, at least 400 people died in Haiti.
Like in the Dominican Republic, the agricultural sector suffered extreme damage. After a severe drought in 1997, Georges's severe flooding stopped any chances of recovering quickly. Most of the country's significant crop land, including Artibonite Valley, suffered total losses. Up to 80% of banana plantations were lost, while vegetable, roots, tubers, and other food crops were ruined. In addition, thousands of small farm animals were either killed or lost. Total agricultural losses amounted to $179 million (1998 USD, $250 million 2009 USD).
The country requested food assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane to alleviate the serious losses.
- John L. Guiney (January 5, 1999). "Hurricane Georges Tropical Cyclone Report". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
- Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (September 25, 1998). "Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti -- Hurricane Georges Fact Sheet #2". ReliefWeb. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Michael Norton (September 30, 1998). "Haiti Hurricane Death Toll Hits 147". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Richard Stuart Olson; et al. (2001). "Hurricane Georges and the Dominican Republic". Special Publication 38 - The Storms of '98: Hurricanes Georges and Mitch. University of Colorado at Boulder (via the Wayback Machine). Archived from the original on September 25, 2005. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Clint Williams (September 26, 2009). "Hurricane Georges: Cobb medical team stuck in Haiti". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. pp. A06.
- Gerónimo Lluberas (September 26, 1998). "The Impact of Hurricane Georges on the area of Belle-Anse, Haiti" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 26, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (September 26, 1998). "Impact Situation Report - Hurricane Georges - Republic of Haiti". ReliefWeb. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Staff Writer (2008). "Hurricanes and Haiti: A Tragic History". Saint Bridget Church. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- Economic and Social Development Department (October 13, 1998). "Hurricane "Georges" Causes Extensive Crop Damage in Caribbean Countries". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (October 8, 1998). "Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti - Hurricane Georges Fact Sheet #9, Fiscal Year (FY) 1999". United States Agency for International Development. Retrieved April 21, 2009.