Although the media has moved on to report on other news stories, it’s important to remember that Haiti was devastated by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The result was massive wind damage to property, mudslides, flooding, and loss of life. Tree Angels for Haiti (TAFH) continues to work tirelessly to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew. We understand that this horrific, natural disaster will likely have major impact on the nation for years to come. However, we believe having adequate tree coverage may minimize damage from weather systems in the future.
You might wonder… with all the urgent needs the people of Haiti are facing right now, why focus on planting trees? Tree coverage in Haiti has decreased from 40% in the 1960s to less than 2% currently. This extreme deforestation has hampered long-term economic growth and social development for generations. But there is hope sprouting with every tree that is planted…
Here are four ways that Trees Can Help Haiti:
- Every year, thousands of Haitians and their valuable livestock die in floods and mudslides. Trees provide soil stability, minimize erosion, and contain rivers after rainfall. Trees decrease damage from earthquakes by keeping the soil together and absorbing force from tremors like those caused by the devastating earthquake in 2010.
- Trees help prevent disease. Moving water is cleaner than standing water, so by containing water in streams, trees reduce waterborne illnesses like cholera that cause a significant number of deaths in poor countries. Trees provide food and medicine. Fruit and nut trees produce food for the hungry and trees like Eucalyptus provide medicinal products. All of these products can be sold locally and potentially exported to improve the health and economy of Haiti.
- Trees support agribusiness that can build Haiti’s economy. They nourish the soil for agriculture and provide oxygen and shade for cash crops like coffee that cannot flourish in direct sunlight. Agriculture gives rural, poor community a sustainable way to make a living and become self-sufficient.
- Trees fight climate change. They provide shade from the hot sun, lower the ground temperature and decrease carbon in the air. Trees provide a place to gather for community meetings or simply a cooler place for children to study. Trees provide a habitat for birds and wildlife. They also add to landscape beauty. This could help create a tourist industry in Haiti, which would also boost the island’s economy. It only takes two years for a tree seedling to grow large enough to effect change for Haiti.
To date, over 90,000 trees have been planted through TAFH. We rely on our personal contributions, donations and fundraising to make a difference. After Hurricane Matthew, funds were raised that allowed the Haitian Tree Angels community to buy food to eat and dispense to the community, clean up their neighborhood and start rebuilding.
Tree Angels for Haiti is a US nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization partnered with the Haitian community in its efforts to fight death and poverty in the country. Members of our organization share the belief that planting and cultivating trees is a sustainable approach to combat poverty. Stay tuned for more information about Tree Angels for Haiti and our goals and dreams for Haiti.