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Farmers feel the brunt of Hurricane Sandy in Eleuthera
(Eleuthera, Bahamas) The Hearty Mow Farmlands, in Hatchet Bay, is one of many examples of the devastation wreaked on farmers by the category two hurricane Sandy, that passed through the island starting on Thursday October 25th. While damage was inflicted by the hurricane winds from the North east during the first hours of its passage the tropical storm winds off the west coast also brought lots of salt spray without much rain, completely dehydrating vegetation turning all afflicted, a burnt brown color.
Mrs Lafleur a descendant of South Eleuthera, who was at the farm late in the day Saturday, said they (she and her husband) had lost everything. "We have to start all over again she said", adding, "I told my husband we have to start from seeds again". With a look of utter disappointment she, described the difficulties in setting up the farm, the lack of support, the bumper crops that followed and now the destruction.
Banana Trees at the farm in Hatchet Bay
The La Fleurs had a good crop of tomatoes on their way - now destroyed, banana trees were flattened, and some of the land mowed to bare earth Determined to regrow, La Fleur is appealing to the government to assist farmers who are committed to the trade. Mrs. La Fleur pointed out that numerous winter residents, during the past year, had commented on how much they liked the fact that they could come and choose their pick from the farm and were looking forward to doing the same when they returned in the upcoming season. She said the lack of support from governments in the past has been disheartening, but with the love they have for what they do, they will persevere! Mrs. La Fleur also pointed out that a local BAIC representative had been to visit the farm since Hurricane Sandy, and did promise to write a letter on her behalf.
Farmer of 42 years, Mr. Daniel Nixon, also president of the south Eleuthera Farmer's Association, from Wemyss Bight, shared with Prime Minister Christie and national media during Christie's island tour of Eleuthera, his plight after the passage of hurricane Sandy.
Nixon stated that he plants a wide variety of crops, including peppers, watermelon, pigeon peas, cassava and many others to diversify his yield. However, he shared, that Sandy, was the undoing of his 2012 season, saying, "Unfortunately, this time around, I've lost all of them. Also with my livestock, I've lost all of my sheds. But, I do feel by the grace of God, I will bounce back again."
He added, with a recognizably independent Eleutheran spirit, "If and when there is any assistance, and if there is any allotted to me, I will appreciate it. If not, I will stand, because I do believe in God. All things work together for good, for them that love the Lord. All according to his purpose". When asked about what circumstances had caused the damage to his farm, Mr. Nixon explained that flooding had not been the cause, but that the winds and salt from the sea, carried in those winds had irreversibly damaged his vegetables and affected his fruiting plants - leaving a burnt appearance to everything throughout the farm.
Nixon, who also expressed that he was very happy to see the Prime Minister's assessment team on the ground, stressed that his plight was being felt across Eleuthera, commenting, "Be mindful of other farmers who are suffering. Every farmer has been touched by this storm."