Funding cuts force WFP to slash food assistance as one-in-two Haitians go hungry
PORT-AU-PRINCE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to cut the number of people receiving emergency food assistance in Haiti by 25 percent in July, compared to the previous month, due to dwindling funding levels. Tragically, this means 100,000 of the most vulnerable Haitians are forced to get by without any WFP support this month.
At the current level of funding for the calendar year, WFP lacks the resources to provide food assistance to a total of 750,000 people who are in urgent need. This is at a time when the country is facing an unprecedented level of humanitarian needs, with nearly half of the population – 4.9 million people – unable to find enough to eat.
Six months into the year, WFP’s response plan in Haiti is only 16 percent funded and the organization urgently requires US$121 million through the end of 2023 to continue providing vital humanitarian assistance in the country. WFP is aiming to reach 2.3 million people in Haiti in 2023 but a funding crunch threatens the response.
“It’s tragic being unable to reach some of the most vulnerable Haitians this month. These cuts could not come at a worse time, as Haitians face a multi-layered humanitarian crisis, their lives and livelihoods upended by violence, insecurity, economic turmoil and climate shocks. Unless we receive immediate funding, further devastating cuts cannot be ruled out, “ said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director for Haiti.
In the first half of 2023, WFP provided hot school meals to more than 450,000 school children across the country. For many students, it is the only full meal they eat in a day. Without an injection of funds, nearly half of these children will no longer have access to school meals when they return to class after the summer break.
“We are proud of what we’ve been able to achieve so far in 2023, thanks to support from our donors. We have the people, the plan, and the capacity to continue, but at this point, without immediate funding, we’re forced to make cuts which mean thousands of the most vulnerable Haitians won’t receive assistance this year,” said Bauer. “This isn’t the time to cut back. It’s the time to step up. We can’t let Haitians down when they need us the most.”
Despite immense challenges, WFP has ramped up its operations in response to a level of need not seen in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, providing support to 1.5 million people in the first six months of the year. In addition to food assistance, families received cash transfers. This allows them to decide how they feed their families and meet their most urgent food needs while also injecting resources into the local economy. WFP has doubled the number of students who receive school meals made entirely from local produce. But funding shortfalls mean these gains are at risk.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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