PORT AU PRINCE –The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, today announced a scale-up of cash and food for work activities, school meals and nutrition programmes to support the Haitian people in building a better, stronger Haiti.
“Step by step the people of Haiti are rebuilding their country,” said Sheeran. “This is a tribute to a nation that has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of epic levels of devastation.”
Four months after the earthquake, WFP is partnering with the Government of Haiti deploying the full range of its food assistance tool box -- including cash for work, food for work, nutritional supplementary feeding, school meals and local procurement. More than two million people will benefit from these new programmes designed to build opportunity and recovery not dependency.
“We will look to empowering farming families and to stimulating markets across the country as a way to support the local economy” said Sheeran.
With the added challenge of the looming rain and hurricane seasons, WFP is also working with its partners to pre-position food, trucks and critical supplies as well as supporting local communities to undertake risk reduction measures to protect against flooding, erosion and landslides.
During a two-day visit, Sheeran visited a Cash and Food for Work programme in Croix-des-Bouquets. People who have lost their homes and livelihoods are building flood barriers in hillside gullies, in return for food to cover the basic needs of their families and money to rebuild their homes. Their labour helps prevent flooding and the erosion of fertile soil and supports new agricultural projects.
“Employment schemes which include wages paid in both food and cash in Haiti are a key component in our strategy to support long term reconstruction. The cash element helps restart the local economy, while the food component ensures people have access to nutritious food,” said Sheeran. Work projects are being scaled-up to include 140,000 workers across the country, benefitting them and the food security of their families for a total of 700,000 people in the programme.
Sheeran also visited a school meals programme in the capital Port-au-Prince with WFP’s newly-appointed Ambassador Against-Hunger, Christina Aguilera, five-time Grammy Award winner and one of the most successful recording artists of the decade.
Through the immediate emergency response – WFP food was being distributed within hours after the earthquake – WFP assisted more than four million people with life saving food rations during the first three months.
“Haiti continues to need all hands to the wheel in supporting the Government rebuilding effort including UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector. We are grateful to all of our partners for working with us for the success of Haiti” Sheeran added.
For further information:
Emilia Casella, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Cell. +41-792857304
Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Cell. +1-202-4223383
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646-8241112