about the author
Regional Public Information Officer
Public Information Officer for WFP Asia, based in Bangok, after having spent two years with WFP in Afghanistan and four years in Rome working in communications and fundraising.
WFP, the Haitian government and food experts from NGOs have just completed a comprehensive assessment which confirms the scale of the ongoing food needs in Haiti two months after the earthquake. The survey will shape policies to rebuild food security in the months ahead.
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- The Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) looked at how people in areas affected by the earthquake – stretching across much of the southern area of Haiti – have been feeding their families since the quake struck. Not surprisingly, more than half of the people surveyed don’t have enough to eat or aren’t able to eat the right kinds of food to get the nutrients they need.
Most people have lost their jobs or other sources of income. Even those with some money find the basic foods in the marketplaces are often too expensive, because prices have gone up since the earthquake.
Damage to infrastructure means that even if some farmers are still producing food, this produce doesn’t reach the markets. This state of food insecurity is the reality for nearly three quarters of the people living in the settlements that sprang up after the quake.
To help these people, WFP is distributing rations of rice, beans, flour, oil and salt to 2 million people who have lost their homes.
But in the long-term, investment in agriculture and human capital is needed for Haiti’s food security, the assessment finds. From April, WFP and the Haitian government will be implementing a range of food-and-cash-for-work projects.
Haitians will be offered jobs on projects that will help build the long-term food security of their country – for example building agricultural infrastructure like irrigation systems, or environmental management like planting trees to keep top-soil in place during the rainy season.
Workers will be paid with a combination of food and cash, to cover families’ immediate food requirements, while at the same time giving people some purchasing power to bring local markets back to life. WFP transports seeds and tools on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). These will be essential to ensure that farmers do not miss the planting season and that there is indeed a harvest in June.