New report warns nearly half of Haiti going hungry

May 31, 2023
Many Haitian schoolchildren receive meals supported by the UN (UN Photo)

UNITED NATIONS, May 31, CMC – A new United Nations supported report says an estimated 4.9 million people, nearly half of the population in the French-speaking country of Haiti, are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity.

The latest integrated food security phase classification (IPC) analysis, notes that of the total number of affected people, 1.8 million are in an emergency-level phase of need.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), one of the report’s global partners, said this means that households face large food consumption gaps resulting in high acute malnutrition and excess mortality, or are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms to cover food needs, such as selling off assets or eating seeds instead of planting them, increasing their vulnerability.

The FAO warned that with 75 per cent of Haiti’s population living in rural areas, urgent measures are needed to save lives and quickly restore the agricultural livelihoods of vulnerable farmers.

For example, investing US$125 in a market-gardening seed package can generate 20 times its value in the production of vegetables, enabling families to have access to food and generate income through the sale of part of the product obtained, according to the agency.

Under the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO is appealing for US$61.7 million to assist 700,000 people to improve their access to food.

Activities will focus on the provision of such agricultural inputs as seeds and fertiliser to increase staple food and vegetable production during the 2023 spring and winter seasons as well as to protect livestock assets, through the provision of poultry and goats alongside vaccines and veterinary treatment.

Acute food insecurity is set to increase in magnitude and severity in 18 hunger “hotspots” around the world, according to a new FAO and World Food Programme (WFP) report published on Monday.

The report found that many hotspots are facing growing hunger and highlights the worrying multiplier effect that simultaneous and overlapping shocks are having on acute food insecurity. Conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks continue to drive more and more communities into crisis.

“All hotspots at the highest level have communities facing or projected to face starvation, or are at risk of sliding towards catastrophic conditions, given they have already emergency levels of food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors,” WFP said.

“These hotspots require the most urgent attention,” the report warns.

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