New Wyclef Jean music video: a song of hope and help for Haitian flood victims

Published on 14 December 2004

Rome WFP releases a music video by Haitian singer/songwriter Wyclef Jean, who visited flood-stricken parts of Haiti in October, and whose new song ‘Gonaives\' seeks to raise awareness and support for thousands of people still recovering from the devastation.

NEW WYCLEF JEAN MUSIC VIDEO -- A SONG OF HOPE AND HELP FOR HAITIAN FLOOD VICTIMS

ROME - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today released a music video by Haitian singer/songwriter Wyclef Jean, who visited flood-stricken parts of Haiti in October, and whose new song ‘Gonaives' seeks to raise awareness and support for thousands of people still recovering from the devastation.

During his recent visit to Haiti, the Grammy-award winner visited WFP projects, where he witnessed the critical need for food aid and other assistance for those still reeling from their tragic loss of life and possessions.

Last September, tropical storm Jeanne caused massive floods in Haiti, killing at least 2,000 people and bringing the country to its knees.

The new music video is being released ahead of the Haiti Contact Group meeting, hosted by The World Bank in Washington D.C, where Wyclef Jean will speak and perform. The one-day meeting, on December 15th, brings together the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies, donors and special interest groups.

"There's a lot of different organizations doing different things, but I like to see with my own eyes, and when I see what the World Food Programme is doing in Haiti, I think it's something that the world just needs to know about," said Wyclef, who helped WFP workers unload heavy bags of food aid during his October trip.

Written in his native Creole, the music video's song "Gonaives" takes its name from the Haitian city (the country's third largest) which was submerged and heavily damaged during the floods. The video shows Wyclef chatting with ordinary Haitians, distributing relief food, and giving weakened people clean water to drink. At many points, he breaks into song, hoping his words and music will inspire those facing a life of suffering and hardship.

"Gonaives… my heart is being torn apart, too many mothers have lost too many children," Wyclef sang in Creole, while distributing WFP food rations in Gonaives. Despite the initial sad lines in the song, Wyclef insists that "the song is not a song of sadness."

"What we wanted to do was capture the raw essence of Gonaives and what we saw during the floods… give people a sense of inspiration. Not like ‘oh, be sad for us' but how can we as people really help Gonaives," explained Wyclef.

WFP is currently feeding more than 600,000 people in Haiti, 100,000 of them flood victims. The poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti ranks 153 out of 177 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index. More than three quarters of Haiti's population live on less than US$2 a day. Chronic malnutrition is rampant, and severe to moderate stunting affects 42 percent of children under the age of five.

In addition to relief assistance, WFP's projects in Haiti focus on four sectors: school feeding; malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers; agricultural rehabilitation and emergency preparedness.

The World Bank Haiti Contact Group meeting, where Wyclef will speak about pilot projects for development in Haiti, will include a round table discussion with WFP participation.

Wyclef also recently launched a movement called "Yéle Haiti" which focuses on education, entrepreneurship, community development, health and the environment. The websites of both Yéle Haiti and WFP are listed at the end of the music video, for viewers interested in providing support to the country's flood victims.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children. www.wfp.org

Yéle Haiti is a non-political movement providing the youth of Haiti and the diaspora with the practical tools, necessary resources and renewed hope necessary to rebuild their nation and chart a new course for the future. www.yele.org

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Guy Gauvreau
WFP Country Director

Haiti (currently in Washington D.C.)

Tel +509-510-5716

Mob. +509-554-4630

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications

WFP/Rome

Tel. +39-06-65132602

Gregory Barrow
WFP/London

Tel. +44-20-75929292

Mob. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva

Tel. +41-22-9178564

Mob. +41-79-2857304

Trevor Rowe
WFP/NY

Tel. +1-212-9635196

Mob. +1-646-8241112

Jordan Dey
WFP/Washington

Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149

Mob. +1-202-4223383