Starting in the eastern Caribbean, Hurricane Hazel pottered harmlessly over the water for an entire week, poking tentatively westward, turning leisurely to the north. Then Hazel hit Haiti. Like many another lady tourist in that exotic land, Hazel went wild.
The storm smacked the tip end of Haiti's long, southern peninsula, neatly avoiding its mountain barriers, and danced disastrously across some of the island's most heavily populated areas. At Dame-Marie, floods and high winds killed 40; the towns of Jeremie and Aux Cayes were largely unroofed. The International Red Cross estimated that too people were dead and 100,000 homeless after the storm's brief passage. But Haiti foresaw as the storm's worst effect months of starvation for remote, hand-to-mouth villagers, whose subsistence crops of bananas and plantains were ruined.