Workers taking part in a WFP Food for Work project use rubble from the earthquake to repair roads and build walls to protect farms from flooding. Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud
Six months have passed since the catastrophic January 12 earthquake in Haiti. At the peak of its emergency operation, WFP reached some 4.5 million people with food aid. But now it’s shifting gears, from disaster relief to a long-term strategy using food assistance to fuel the recovery.
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Over the past six months, WFP’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti has unfolded over four main phases, from saving lives in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to helping Haitians rebuild their country. Download the Factsheet - Haiti: Six Months On
1. Immediate response
- Despite the death of several staff and major damage to its office and warehouses, WFP began distributing high energy biscuits (HEBs) and other ready-to-eat foods within 24 hours of the earthquake.
- Faced with enormous logistical challenges, WFP was able to distribute one million food rations to 200,000 people in the week following the quake.
»See the photos
- With Haiti’s telephone lines knocked out, WFP’s FITTEST teams set up an emergency communications network for the entire humanitarian community that was up and running within seven days. »See the photos
2. Organised delivery
- With the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a state of disarray, WFP was able to set up a network of 16 distribution centres that gave out a two-week ration of rice to over 1.3 million people in under six weeks. »See the photos
- Distributions were carried out through a speedily organized coupon system that gave priority to women, ensuring that they and their children got the food they needed.
- WFP provided ready-to-eat meals to some 370 orphanages around the country, home to an estimated 37,000 children, many of them orphaned by the earthquake. »See the photos
3. Protecting the vulnerable
- A nutrition drive launched in February targeted nursing mothers and small children with specialized foods like a peanut paste designed to protect toddlers from malnutrition. »Watch the video
- School meals programmes resumed in March, eventually providing over 655,000 children with a daily meal. »See the photos
- Some 300,000 high-risk families began receiving a complete food basket in March, consisting of rice, beans, corn soya blend, oil and salt. The food reached an estimated 1.3 million people, mainly women and children.
4. Working to rebuild
- Already more than 30,000 workers are participating in projects that provide them with cash and food in return for work to rebuild areas damaged by the quake and the number is growing daily. The projects ensure rations for over 150,000 people. »Watch the video
- Paid around USD $5.00 per day and enough food to feed a family of five, workers clear roads, dig irrigation canals and building flood works in view of the upcoming hurricane season.
- By the end of the year, Cash and Food for Work programmes will provide over 140,000 workers with a steady source of income and food, benefitting some 700,000 people. »Watch the video
Bracing for hurricane season
Haiti was spared from hurricanes in 2009, but no one can say what will happen this year. In preparation for the worst, WFP has prepositioned food around the country and set up a system of barges to move food and supplies should the roads become unusable. Find out more