By: Tiffany Baker, Program Clerk

It has been a week since Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on the east coast of the United States. It was a very powerful tropical cyclone that has been the first to turn into a category 5 hurricane since 2007.  After hitting Haiti and eastern Cuba, hurricane Matthew made its way through the Bahamas and into the United States. With the reports of property damage and death, it is no surprise that the agriculture in the states affected would suffer. The Agriculture sector in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, North and South Carolina suffered varying levels of damage.

There has been substantial flooding, especially in North Carolina, where it is reported that the flooding killed tens of thousands of livestock. While the exact numbers are unknown due to continued flooding, the state is trying to think proactively in getting rid of the waste left behind. There have also been other issues that are being reported from the central and southern parts of the state. There have been sewage spills throughout many residential counties that have contaminated lakes and creeks. This has caused an advisory to boil tap water before drinking.

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In South Carolina, the concern is for the crops that have been damaged by Matthew. These crops include cherry tomatoes, squash and watermelons. There are also reports that there is significant lost to the cotton and soy crops. Because of the flooding in the low areas, many people have evacuated those areas for safety. There have been power outages as well as flooded roads that are impossible to pass. South Carolina has also reports poultry loss.

The other states have damages as well be they are less extensive. During the After math, many of our member organizations that Participate in the National Farmworker Job Program have been entertaining request from H-2A and other farmworkers who are asking for assistance. Farmworkers in these Areas are being assisted through the emergency assistance fund. The Telamon offices in North and South Carolina are sponsoring a “food and Essentials Drive” this week to collect food, toiletries, as well as baby and pet supplies to aid the farmworkers in the affected area.

We continue to learn more about the damages caused by Matthew as the days go on and the water receeds.