U.N. appeals for help to Haiti during hurricane season

(Reuters) – UNICEF, U.N. Children’s Agency, made an appeal on Friday to international aid for Haiti, a country plagued by violence, in preparation for a dangerous Atlantic Hurricane Season that could prove deadly for the island’s many displaced residents.

This year, the hurricane season is expected to be particularly severe. It usually begins in June and lasts until November. Haiti has been devastated by a gang-fueled conflict. The U.N. estimates that 360,000 people are now displaced in this Caribbean nation.

In a recent statement, Bruno Maes said that “children will lose their homes and livelihoods with every cyclone or tornado. The season is just beginning.”

He said that “Supporting our preparedness and response capability for worst-case scenarios requires the support of the international community.”

UNICEF stated that a tornado that struck northern Haiti in late May, leaving 4,350 people without homes, was an “omen” of a potentially destructive cyclone season.

The agency stated that it was pre-positioning medical supplies, food and other necessities in order to reduce delivery times. Armed groups control the supply routes in Haiti, which slows down aid efforts and puts humanitarian workers at risk.

Climate change and the La Nina phenomena, which are periodic events, have led to forecasters predicting a very active season. Colorado State University said that the Atlantic could see 23 named storms, including 11 possible hurricanes.

The Atlantic storm season of last year was the fourth most active ever recorded with 20 named hurricanes.

Leaders of small island developing countries, including many from the Caribbean, called on wealthy nations at a summit held last month to keep their promises to reduce emissions and to help heavily-indebted island states mitigate the effects of climate change.

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