A WFP beneficiary in Port-au-Prince (2009)
(Copyright: WFP/Anne Poulsen)
Poverty, malnutrition, high food prices, hurricanes and now an earthquake. Here are ten facts that give the measure of the hunger crisis facing Haiti, an nation which was already struggling to feed itself even before the earthquake.
- Assessments show that 3 million people may need humanitarian relief, including food assistance, in the wake of the earthquake.
- Even before the quake, 1.9 million people were ‘food insecure’, meaning they needed assistance to stave off hunger.
- Only 50 percent of Haiti population has access to safe drinking water.
- Some 55 percent of Haiti’s 9 million people live below the poverty line of US$1 a day.
- Rural households spend almost 60 percent of their income on food; the poorest groups spend more than 70 percent.
- Chronic malnutrition affects 24 percent of children under five, rising as high as 40 percent in the poorest zones.
- Poor diet means many women and children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Anaemia affects 59 percent of children between the ages of six months and 5 years.
- During 2008, high food and fuel prices triggered violent demonstrations and political upheaval.
- In the same year, three hurricanes and one tropical storm struck Haiti, killing 800 people, destroying 27,000 homes and raising the general level of hunger.
- Food prices have declined since September 2008, but remain higher than the four-year average.