Haiti Six Months On - Backgrounder

Published on 08 July 2010

Overview: In the week after the January 12 earthquake, WFP delivered 1 million rations, equivalent to more than 3 million meals, to over 200,000 people.

At the peak of the emergency response in February, WFP was providing food for around 4 million people in Port au Prince and beyond, with general food distributions as well as meals for hospitals and children’s homes and existing feeding programmes.

As the Haitian government put in place recovery strategies, WFP supported them with new programmes – such as Food and Cash for Work – phasing out the general distributions. Those food and cash for work projects are reaching more and more people daily and our safety net programmes are ensuring that the most vulnerable do not fall into hunger and malnutrition.

WFP Operations:

School Meals:

WFP currently provides a daily hot meal to 655, 000 school age children. By the end of the year it aims to reach 800, 000 children.   As schools reopened WFP restarted its existing school meals programme and expanded coverage to make-shift schools. This programme will continue when children are on “vacation”.

Supplementary Feeding:

WFP is giving special nutritional and food supplements,  such as fortified peanut paste and corn soya blend, along with oil and sugar, to children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers in Port au Prince, in other quake-affected areas or with a large influx of IDPs. Currently feeding 563,000, planning to reach 655 000 by end 2010.

Temporary job schemes – Cash-and-Food-for-Work 

By June, 35, 000 Haitians were working on these schemes. The aim is to reach 140 000 workers by the end of the year.  As each labourer receives rations for a family of 5, this programme will provide food for 700 000. The strategy is endorsed by the Government.

Initial projects include clearing debris, draining canals, rehabilitating feeder roads and irrigation canals. Other activities include restoring sustainable agricultural production by preventing erosion and improving environmental management.

In the Cash and Food for Work schemes, workers are paid the equivalent of 200 Gourdes (US$5) per day.  They receive 60% in cash and the rest (40%) in food.  Some projects reward labour only with food rations.

WFP works closely with the Government to stimulate agricultural production through local procurement pilot projects.  In 2009, WFP purchased 500 metric tons (mt) of  rice. It purchases locally where possible.

Preparations for rains/hurricane season 

WFP is prepositioning food supplies in 32 locations in the most vulnerable areas across the country. The supplies can feed 1,1 million Haitians for 6 weeks. They include 1,100 metric tons of high energy biscuits, 12,800 mt of food baskets and 2 million humanitarian daily rations. 
Prepositioning is important because the key problem when Haiti is hit by torrential rains is that many key roads are blocked by floods or landslides. Route 204, the one connecting Port-au-Prince to Jacmel in the south and Cap Haitien in the north, is particularly susceptible.
WFP’s logistics staff has set up alternative transport systems for the hurricane season that can be used by the wider humanitarian community: 


  • WFP is now using Jacmel and Gonaives ports for containerized cargo.
  • The port of Jacmel will be a vital supply route. The main access road, the mountainous Route 204, has already suffered landslides.
  • WFP has started a barge service connecting all major Haitian ports (Jacmel, Cap Haitien, Gonaives, Port au Prince) and Santo Domingo. If roads become impassable supplies can still be moved around the country. 


For Further Information:
Stephanie Tremblay, WFP/Port-au-Prince, Tel. +509-3648-7738
Fedrique Pierre, WFP/Port-au-Prince, Tel. +509-3792-3939