Haiti: UN agencies warn of ‘unabated’ rise in hunger |

Warning that 4.5 million Haitians are experiencing severe levels of food insecurity, WFP indicated that humanitarian food assistance was lower than expected and continued to drain from last August earthquake as the main driving force.

“Levels of hunger are increasing unabated as persistent political instability, rising inflation and recurring disasters continue to plot against the Haitian people,” the agency said.

Speaking to the press in Geneva from the Caribbean island nation, WFP Country Director Pierre Honnorat noted that the situation was worrying, “the worst on record since 2018”.

Fiercely hungry

“Haiti forms part of the ‘ring of fire’ that surrounds the globe, where climate shocks, conflicts, COVID-19and rising costs are pushing vulnerable communities to the brink,” he said.

According to recent predictions, 45% of the population will experience severe hunger from March to June, and of those, an estimated 1.3 million people are in the emergency phase. Later Integrated food security stage classification (IPC).

The ongoing economic crisis in Haiti, characterized by a weakening currency against the US dollar, soaring inflation and soaring fuel prices in the previous months, has reduced the purchasing power of many households. poorer families, making basic things like food no longer affordable.

Ukraine effect

Furthermore, global food prices are at an all-time high, which, together with the Ukraine crisis, continues to have a direct impact on food security.

UN humanitarians in Haiti warn that it will likely continue to hurt vulnerable people in the island nation heavily dependent on imports.

Mr. Honnorat reminded that 70% of goods in Haitian stores are importedand said the food insecurity situation “could only get worse if we didn’t support Haiti”.

“This also promotes insecurity, migration and sexual exploitation,” he added, calling for more international support.

“It’s all about those coping mechanisms that the population has to implement. And it’s different, they have to change their diet, they have to reduce their meals; but it also leads them to violence, it also leads some of them to prostitution,” Mr. Honnorat explained.

Prices increase with inflation

Details of the situation in Haiti, Patrick David, Senior Program Manager at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also a summary from Port-au-Prince, more about Impact of Ukraine crisis on prolonging food insecurity.

“Haiti imports a lot of food and fertilizers and the price hikes for these products will contribute to already high inflation in the country,” David said.

Mr. Honnorat added that the wheat that Haiti imports “primarily comes from Russia and then from Canada… so if the price of flour goes up, you see a problem and the price has multiplied by five by two. many years. So we can only expect that it will multiply again.”

Space for optimism is limited

WFP reports improvement in areas in southern Haiti, attributed to continued food assistance following last year’s major earthquake.

As a result, nearly one million people are severely food insecure in the affected areas.

The UN’s emergency food agency has reached more than 355,000 beneficiaries with food and cash assistance worth $8.2 million.

However, it warned the situation had deteriorated in other areas in the south, where emergency responses were limited.

Food distribution in one of the communes hardest hit after the massive floods in the North of Haiti.

© WFP / Theresa Piorr

Food distribution in one of the communes hardest hit after the massive floods in the North of Haiti.

The northern region is also reeling from the aftermath of massive flooding in late January, which resulted in deaths and injuries with nearly 3,500 people seeking temporary shelter.

WFP distributed dry rations to 8,000 people affected by the floods, as well as about 1,000 ready-to-eat meals over five days at six shelters.

Urgent response

Look long-term solution to a country that continues to grapple with many crisesWFP says it is strengthening national food and social protection systems using rights-based transfers, income-generating activities and community-level disaster risk reduction solutions.

To speed up the return to school and resume feeding activities in earthquake-affected areas, WFP engineers are also racing against time to renovate schools.

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