In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, covering a relentless season of hurricanes and tropical storms in late 2008, Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell and reporter Jacquie Charles started hearing about a small, distant town where Hurricane Ike had “swallowed children.”
Driving three hours on flooded roads and buckling bridges, the two made it to Cabaret to document for the world what nature wreaked on the fragile, coastal community. Their story “Death stalks Haiti in the dark” began a series of stories and photographs that stretched over the next four months, detailing what the United Nations called “the worst humanitarian disaster to hit Haiti in 100 years.” The 2008 hurricane season in Haiti killed 800 people, displaced tens of thousands, and caused $1 billion in damage to the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. As a result of Farrell and Charles’ coverage, the U.S. Congress appropriated $100 million for Haiti disaster relief and millions of dollars in private, international aid streamed into the island nation.
In 2009, Farrell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for his “provocative, impeccably composed images of despair,” a collection of 19 black-and-white photographs called “Haiti’s Year Without Mercy.”