Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful, terrifying concoctions. From storms whose impacts are still being seen to this day like Katrina and Harvey to those whose still-devastating effects weren’t as far-reaching like Marco, these aren’t anything to mess with. Dorian, the most recent storm to terrorize the Caribbean, was no different.
This past September Hurricane Dorian tore through the Bahamas, tripped along the US’ east coast, and finally petered out around September 8th after bumping into Canada. Its effects were hard-hitting, with the death toll in the Bahamas believed to be 61 as of the most recent count. Unfortunately, hundreds of people are still missing and thousands more were affected in one way or another. Whether it was the loss of a loved one, power outages, or the destruction of property, the Hurricane Dorian impact will be felt for generations.
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The Hurricane Dorian Impact On Crops
One consequence of hurricanes many may not immediately think of is the destruction of many crops and means of production. When you think of hurricanes you think of death, homes being destroyed, and families being separated. The devastation of the land also means devastation of the crops being grown on that land. This can lead to lost harvests, shortages of certain produce, and increased prices across the world, causing the hurricane’s path of destruction to reach much wider than simply the land it struck.
In Dorian’s case, the storm didn’t just affect the Bahamas and the US’ east coast. The Hurricane Dorian impact had a far-reaching effect on the availability and price on produce across the world. Especially, fruits and sugar.
The Bahamas’ Agriculture Industry
When you think of the Bahamas, your first thought is probably of gorgeous beaches, palm trees, and maybe a Pina Colada. While yes, tourism is a large part of the economy, there are several other industries important to the islands’ success. Alongside tourism, the Bahamas relies on industries like banking, oil refinement, rum production, and agriculture.
Agriculture is a broad industry, (check out this neat article on agriculture and drones) and the sectors most important in the Bahamas are livestock like cattle, poultry, dairy production, and the growth of crops.
With its beautiful tropical climate, the Bahamas is a perfect place to grow a variety of crops from bananas to sugar cane and everything in between. A few of the main crops produced include grapefruits, bananas, oranges, mangoes, and pineapples. These delicious fruits are available to those in colder, not-as-friendly climates like the northern US thanks to tropical paradises like the Bahamas.
Citrus fruits are particularly important crops in the area, with citrus production in the Bahamas increasing drastically since 1985. The most recent numbers from 2017 show a production of 335,204 hectograms per hectare. Hectograms, for those of us who haven’t seen the term since high school chemistry, are units of measure that are equal to 100 grams. Hectares are units of measure used to represent 2.471 acres, or 10,000 square meters. The chart below shows the steady climb in citrus production over the past several decades.
Hurricane Storm Impact On Bahamas Citrus Fruit Yield
Whether citrus or otherwise, fruit production is a crucial part of how many Bahamians make their living. Many families have been farming certain crops for generations, knowing no other way of life.
Destruction And Its Victims
The Hurricane Dorian impact was felt through the every island of the Bahamas. Tearing down homes, upending cars, taking lives, and destroying property, the storm’s impact will be felt for years to come. Countless Bahamian families have had their lives changed forever. Loosing loved ones and the decimation of their way of life.
The land itself in the Bahamas has been ruined as well. For many farming families, the means to take care of themselves has been taken away. When your entire livelihood is wrapped up in the production of one crop and the entire crop is wiped away in a matter of days. The desperation and helplessness is unimaginable.
While the effects of Hurricane Dorian are still being officially assessed and the data is still coming in, social media allows a peek into the real people affected. Bahamians have been posting pictures of what their homes and communities look like in the wake of the storm. The reality is sobering.
— raw deal. ✨ (@lethera_bg) September 2, 2019
Feel-good stories like the dog found alive after being trapped in rubble for weeks are nice, but they can shift the focus away from the very real, very persistent problems facing the storm’s victims. The truth is many of these families’ farms have been destroyed. Entire seasons’ worth of crops have been washed away or damaged beyond restoration. Hurricane Dorian’s destruction will cause produce prices to soar to contribute to payment of repairs and improvements to the food transportation system.
What Can Be Done To Help The People?
It’s easy to hear about a disaster, feel badly, and quickly move on. The lives ruined is the most important and long lasting of all of the Hurricane Dorian impact affecting the people. There are lives ruined. This will drive a number of citizens of the Caribbean to move away. For Americans, thoughts of the pictures and stories from the disaster will fade from being shown by the media. The most effective way to help the victims of Dorian is to partner with a reputable charity. Doing your research to ensure that the organization you choose is trustworthy and makes a difference in their stated cause. Information about charities, where their money goes, and what they do is readily available online.
Even if giving money isn’t feasible, sharing information about trustworthy charities and their initiatives, helps to get the word out. Shining a light for those people who are in a position to give. Putting the right information in front of enough of the right people can make all the difference.
Finally, making a point of not forgetting the people of the Bahamas and their problems is important. The next tragedy or exciting event will come around, grab attention, and fade away. The human beings Dorian affected will continue to feel those effects for years to come.