Gemmo Lodesani, WFP Regional Director for Latin American and the Caribbean, visiting a health center in a Port-au-Prince camp. Copyrights: WFP/ Stephanie Tremblay
At the end of a 3-day visit to Haiti, Gemmo Lodesani, the World Food Programme’s newly appointed Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean expressed concerns about the food security situation in the country.
“Much work has been done since the earthquake, he said, but there are still 4.5 million people in Haiti who do not have access to sufficient quantities of nutritious food on a regular basis.”
The latest national food security survey, conducted by the CNSA, FAO, WFP and other partners, is currently being finalized. Preliminary results indicate that more than a year and a half after the earthquake, hunger remains a problem for many Haitians.
Food prices have been on the rise in the country, creating an additional burden for a population that is still trying to get back on its feet following the earthquake.
This visit to Haiti was the first official trip undertaken by Lodesani, who is based in Panama. “I wanted to renew WFP’s commitment to support the Haitian Government with programmes such as school meals, nutrition and temporary employment,” he said.
During his trip, WFP’s Regional Director met with Government and UN officials as well as donors. He also visited a camp in Port-au-Prince where thousands of people displaced by the earthquake are still living in tents. He saw how WFP works on the ground with a local NGO to combat malnutrition. In the middle of the camp, hundreds of malnourished pregnant or breast feeding women and children under 5 receive fortified foods and free medical services. “It’s important for WFP to continue supporting projects like this one, said Gemmo Lodesani. They make a real difference for the future of these children.”
The World Food Programme’s operations in Haiti are carried out in close coordination with the Government following Haiti’s reconstruction priorities. To continue its programmes at the planned level until the end of the school year in June 2012, the agency urgently needs US$50 million. WFP is grateful for the generosity of its donors and is counting on their ongoing support to help Haitians rebuild their lives following the devastating 2010 earthquake.