Poverty increases in the area of Lake Enriquillo
SANTO DOMINGO. The natural disasters of the last few years affect the inhabitants that surround Lake Enriquillo, in the south of the country, increasing poverty in the area which is manifested in an increase of the malnutrition of the residents in the provinces of Bahoruco and Independencia, where many homes have found themselves in the obligation to reduce food to one ration per day.
According to an investigation by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the support of other agencies for international cooperation, since 2004 when there was a flood that practically exterminated farm production of the area and ended the lives of dozens of human beings and cattle, and then underwent the systemic expansion of Lake Enriquillo itself.
This produced as a consequence that the two provinces indicated present the most elevated levels of malnutrition in the country, with 18.3% in the first case and 11.3% in the second.
Of 280 homes in the area of Lake Enriquillo interviewed by the UNDP technicians, all reported having to switch from consuming three meals a day to only two, and in the town of Duverge the situation is worse, since they went from this amount (3) to one serving per day. The distribution of water has diminished considerably, and 68% of the homes reported damage to their crops, 29.8% to animals, 16.2% to their houses, 6.3% to their means of transportation, 7.6% to equipment and supplies for their business and 64.1% said that their properties lost value.
Some 4.7% of the homes reported that one of the members had suffered an illness resulting from the disaster and 48.8% experienced a large increase in health expenditures as a result of the disasters.
The study “When the Disasters Remain: Understanding the ties between poverty and climatic shocks in Enriquillo Lake in the Dominican Republic” was carried out within the project of a national program for the incorporation of environmental variables in the development and the reduction of the vulnerability of poor rural homes in the face of climatic sjocks in the Dominican Republic (PEI-REGATTA) with the help of the Unique System of Beneficiaries (SUIBEN) with the aim that the Social Cabinet, as well as the National Council on Climate Change and the National System of Prevention Reduction and Answer constitute a common agenda.
The study indicates that after what happened with Lake Enriquillo, 69.1% of the families reported that they put off or suspended the improvement of their productive activity which implies a negative impact on the mental health of the population, with manifestations of the sense of loss, such as depression, stress and anxiety.
Paulino de la Cruz Nova lost some of his relatives and all his crops during the flood. He lived from his farming and his economy improves through the assistance of international collaboration, the study points out, an which is also supported in other testimonies.
In the meantime, Crisalida Medrano, even had to sell her rings, in order to pay for her electric bill. There were three and they were her greatest treasures. Because of this, in her testimony her impotence is evident and added to the fact that one of her daughters could not finish the University and become a lab technician, because of a lack of economic resources.
And the results of the investigation show a reduction of income from RD $13,369 to RD $4597 to cite just one case.
The direct effects, according to the study, have permitted 39.5% of those surveyed to say that they were willing to go and live in another town; in Jimani 81.5% did so. According with the results of the investigation, in Jimani the motivation was to flee from the expansion of the Lake (90.9%), in the towns to the north, such as Villa Jaragua, 66.7% wanted to do it (move) because of a lack of jobs.
The investigators concluded that the relationship between poverty and the environment in the area of Lake Enriquillo can be noticeably identified through their relation with the means of subsistence, the resistance against the shocks, health and economic development of the homes around Lake Enriquillo.
In addition, the households depended on the conditions of their resources, on the means of subsistence such as food and drinking water that are supplied by their natural environment as well as the services of regulations on watersheds for their welfare, and security and to supply their basic needs.
Some 69% of the households of Lake Enriquillo depend on the environment to obtain income in sectors such as farming, fishing and livestock and that the poorer households are highly vulnerable to floods, droughts, the effects of climate change and other environmental factors that threaten their means of subsistence and weakened their food security. With regard to the recommendations, they suggest mainstreaming the reduction of disaster risks in the policies of poverty reduction and vice versa.
They also suggest learning about the households in order to generate a change in the traditional manner of understanding and evaluating the impact of the disasters associated with climate and construct visions in the medium and long term of the indirect impact with a differentiating and more precise focus of the effects and necessities of the households.
Category: DR News |