Eight out of ten Haitians are currently spending less on meals, and the country is among the top ten most affected by food price inflation, according to the World Bank.An estimated one million children are out of school in Haiti due to insecurity and other factors. Sustained humanitarian aid has managed to support the most vulnerable communities in Cité Soleil, an area of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. However, WFP operations are underfunded and compromised and require 5 million over the next six months.
Farmers crippled by violence, high costs
Farmers have been forced to reduce areas sown due to the high cost of seeds and fertilizers at a time when the spread of armed groups has plagued rural areas with violence. “Haiti can’t wait,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director for the country. “We cannot wait for the scale of the problem to be expressed in deaths before the world responds, but that is where we are heading.”
Life-saving food assistance needed
The agency’s focus remains on strengthening national social protection and food systems that are critical to Haiti’s recovery efforts and development. While it is certain that life-saving assistance is an urgent need, building long-term resilience for the people of Haiti needs to be a top priority, he said. Half the population – 4.9 million people – are now struggling to access food, according to the new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis. Findings reveal a substantial increase in the number of severely hungry people in Haiti, with the number tripling since 2016. The multiple emergencies are having a significant impact on the health and nutrition of Haitian children who have limited access to nutritious food. Malnourishment is compromising their immunity, making them vulnerable to diseases like cholera, and causing other lifelong health issues including poor cognitive development.