In northern Haiti, EU cash gives thousands of people a chance to help their families
Story | 15 October 2021
The already dire situation in Haiti, which has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world, was compounded by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck regions in the southwest on 14 August. As the country was already in the midst of an active hurricane season and dealing with multiple crises – including political instability, gang violence and rising food prices – humanitarian needs in the areas affected by the earthquake are rising sharply.
Homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed and there are limited shelter options for people who have lost their homes. Nearly one million people are highly food insecure in the earthquake-affected areas and 4.3 million people – or half the population analyzed – across the country currently do not have enough to eat. The World Food Programme (WFP) has assisted 860,000 people with emergency food assistance so far in 2021, more than twice as many people as in 2020.
WFP is stepping up assistance to chronically food insecure Haitians in the earthquake-affected area and extending support to those newly in need. WFP aims to assist 1.1 million people in 2021 with emergency assistance, including almost 325,000 people in urgent need of food in the Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments, the regions worst affected by the earthquake.
WFP coordinates its emergency assistance with the Government and works with about 50 NGOs in the country. WFP is partnering with multiple organizations and has been organizing simultaneous distributions with UNICEF and International Organization for Migration for a more efficient, faster response. Each day, WFP reaches up to 10,000 people hit by the earthquake with emergency assistance. WFP has also served over 200,000 hot meals in hospitals and temporary shelters.
WFP stands ready to support the Government with emergency food assistance as well as logistics and emergency telecommunications. WFP has a stock of food prepositioned across the country to respond swiftly in case a hurricane hits. This contingency stock, which includes rice, beans and vegetable oil can support up to 270,000 people for one month. A WFP helicopter and plane fly daily to several locations in the country. This service has proved critical in accessing hard-to-reach locations in particular as transportation over land to certain parts of the country is unsafe.
To mitigate access and security challenges, WFP has been transporting humanitarian assistance and personnel through air, road and sea. Daily convoys organized jointly by Haiti’s Civil Protection and WFP travel from Port-au-Prince to the southern regions. To access remote villages and specific areas affected by the earthquake, a barge service is being set up. The WFP-managed UNHAS has increased rotations to the South, with two to three flights per day and over 1,300 passengers and urgent relief supplies having been transported to the most hard-hit regions since 14 August.
To support the country’s recovery efforts, WFP has initiated small scale activities, including the rebuilding of community assets. To accelerate return to school and resumption of school feeding activities, WFP engineers are contributing to rehabilitation efforts, in view of a swift reopening of schools in the areas affected by the earthquake.
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