1.5 million Haitians face hunger

A Haitian boy looks for food in the slum of Raboto in Gonaives, Haiti.
Associated Press / Daniel Morel

The United Nations says while the number of Haitians facing hunger in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew has declined steadily in the three months since the deadly storm ripped through the French-speaking Caribbean nation, more than 1.5 million people nevertheless remain food insecure.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday released findings from a joint assessment conducted in December with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Haiti’s National Coordination for Food Security (CNSA).

“The results of the assessment show the very positive impact of our collective efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew but also the pressing need to continue and redirect assistance to new areas with higher levels of food insecurity, as well as initiate recovery interventions,” said Ronald Tran Ba Huy, WFP’s Representative in Haiti.

The findings showed that people in the southern areas of Grande-Anse and Sud, the hardest hit areas of the country, are better off.

An estimated 400,000 face hunger and food insecurity, as compared with one million shortly after Matthew hit, the report said.

It said the Haitian Government and UN partners have been providing food to these areas, along with seeds, tools and financial resources.

Meanwhile, areas in the west — such as Artibonite, Nippes and La Gonave — even though the impact of the hurricane there was smaller, are worse off.

The insecurity is blamed on cycles of drought and flooding, which preceded the hurricane by three years, the UN said.

Noting the uneven improvements as a result of the different interventions, Nathanaël Hishamunda, FAO’s representative in Haiti, said that there is now a need to “consolidate the gains made by working hand in hand with the government, with the goal of reinforcing our interventions in the most vulnerable communities.”

Given the ongoing needs, the UN said the humanitarian community in Haiti has requested US$113 million to support food security and agriculture for this year.

More from Around NYC