Drought and tropical storms hinder food supply in Haiti, UN says

Haitians receive food rations following the passage of Hurricane Sandy. Photo: WFP/Elio Rujano

3 April 2013 – A growing number of people in Haiti do not have enough to eat, according to the United Nations relief wing, mostly as a result of drought and the impact of recent tropical storms.

“The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that some 1.5 million people continue to have severe food insecurity in Haiti, mostly as a result of drought and the impact of Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy,” UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey told journalists today in New York.

“UN agencies and humanitarian organizations are working with the Government to reach hundreds of thousands of people with food assistance,” he added.

Malnutrition rates in some areas of Haiti have risen since October of last year and food shortages are affecting 7 of the 10 departments in the country, according to information from OCHA. Nearly 82,000 children under 5 years of age are malnourished.

Speaking before the Security Council last month, the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Nigel Fisher, warned of “high levels of food insecurity facing many households.”

Haiti has been re-building since the earthquake that struck in early January 2010, killing some 220,000 people and making 1.5 million others homeless, in addition to causing widespread destruction – particularly in the capital, Port-au-Prince – and a major humanitarian crisis.

Since then, the Caribbean country continued to face many challenges, including a slow economic growth rate that fell below forecasted levels, high unemployment rates, a recent spike in cholera cases, several tropical storms, and regional droughts.


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