Haiti Facing Major Food Crisis, Government Says

Reports indicate that the international community has fallen short in its commitment to assist in Haiti’s recovery since Hurrican Matthew left it in devastation mere weeks ago. The country’s interim president, Jocelerme Privert, corroborates these reports, stating that the devastating losses experienced last month were in the amount of the nation’s whole budget. Privert also stated that Haiti is facing a “major food crisis” and worsening levels of hunger and malnutrition. He continues to urge world governments to do more to assist Haiti in this crisis.

The storm, which was a category 4, is the strongest to have hit the Caribbean in over a decade. It has left large portions of the nation devastated and has affected approximately 2.1 million people.

The Haitian government has estimated that 1.5 million of those are in need of immediate aid, with 140,000 of those living in temporary shelters.

Citizens attempting to rebuild homes have resorted to using metal, wood, and plastic tarpaulin. Privert spoke, as BBC News shares, from his own home, stating that he “didn’t want to see Haitian people die because of the unavailability of international assistance.” He added that without immediate support financially, so crops can be planted, Haiti’s current crisis could worsen further.

“If we don’t manage to re-launch agriculture then in three to four months we’ll find ourselves with a major food crisis. Our projection is that we need between $25m (£20m) and $30m to resolve the farming issue. Right now we have $2.5m.”

Chief Executive Ann Lee of the non-profit relief organization J/P HRO shares that they have been delivering aid to the people of Haiti ever since 2010, yet says that a serious crisis is eminent if funding does not come.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of hunger. Haiti has experienced three years of drought before the hurricane so there were already high levels of malnutrition. Now tens of thousands of acres of crop land and millions of fruit trees have been destroyed.”

A week after the disaster hit, due to the ferocious effect of Hurricane Matthew, the United Nations launched a campaign to raise $120 million for the already fragile nation. A month has passed and only 38 percent of that goal set by the UN has been raised, with the majority of the pledge coming from the United States. The United Kingdom made a commitment to pledge $10 million to help with the efforts to assist Haiti in the wake of the hurricane, yet only a fraction of that, at a little more than $2 million has been paid.

However, a spokesperson for the British government has said that “Britain has played its part in assisting those in immediate need” by providing those affected with water, shelter, and protection from unsanitary surroundings. Yet Lee states that some of the communities that are in remote locations in the nation have not been reached by anyone providing assistance.

“There is gratitude because we bring some assistance to them but there’s also a lot of despair, everyone is suffering,” she says.

Mr. Privert states that more needs to be done.

“The international community has expressed deep sympathy for the Haitian people and heads of state have contacted us, heads of government have provided some support both moral and material, but it is not enough.”

Fears have also been sparked in regard to females who are pregnant and preparing to give birth to their babies resulting in children being raised in a devastated mess where clean water and food are hard to come by. There is also the worry of cholera resulting in fatalities due to the unsanitary environment that has resulted due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew.

[Feature Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]