Port-au-Prince– Six months after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has moved towards supporting long-term recovery, and building a strong nutritional foundation for the future of all Haitians.
“In the hours immediately after the quake, WFP provided emergency food assistance that prevented this catastrophic event from evolving into a hunger crisis for the people of Haiti and the world,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. “Now we are working with the government and other partners on programmes that use a mixture of food and cash for work, school meals and nutritional initiatives to rebuild the food security system in Haiti.”
In collaboration with the government and NGO partners, WFP has started temporary job initiatives across Haiti. These vary by region but all are designed to contribute to reconstruction efforts and bolster agriculture. Workers are typically paid with a mix of food and cash. This means that they have money to cover daily expenses such as medicines and clothing, so stimulating the local economy, but also enough food to feed their families.
Some 35,000 women and men are currently employed in WFP food and cash for work programmes which are expected to grow to 140,000 before the end of the year.
“We’re supporting huge numbers of people who would otherwise struggle to put food on their tables,” said WFP Country Director, Myrta Kaulard, adding that the food and cash packages that are given to individual workers are designed to sustain families of up to 5 people.
In addition, WFP is working with the Haitian Government to provide daily hot meals to 655,000 school-aged children and aims to reach 800 000 children by the end of the year.
“The school meals programme is a cornerstone of our operations in Haiti,” said Kaulard. “It is a simple and effective way to guarantee children at least one nutritious meal every day and keep them learning.”
WFP is also providing special nutritional food supplements to pregnant and nursing women and children under 5, reaching more than half a million people in June and thereby ensuring that the most vulnerable groups do not slip into malnutrition during this recovery period.
With the hurricane season underway WFP’s logistics team has prepositioned enough food to feed 1.1 million people across the country for 6 weeks. WFP has also organized a barge service to link Haiti’s main ports to Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo should roads become impassable due to rain and landslides. This service will be available for the entire humanitarian community.
“We need to keep a balance between improving access to food for the most vulnerable Haitians, while taking care not to disrupt local markets or exclude local farmers from selling their produce,” Kaulard said, adding that WFP will purchase food locally when possible, as the new harvest brings new products to the market.
For Further Information:
Stephanie Tremblay, WFP/Port-au-Prince, Tel. +509-3648-7738
Fedrique Pierre, WFP/Port-au-Prince, Tel. +509-3792-3939