Almost half of Haitians suffer from acute hunger, according to the FAO

A total of 4.9 million people in Haiti, almost half the population of the depressed country, is acutely hungryan increase of 200,000 people in just 5 months, according to data released this Friday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Of the total affected, 1.8 million are in an emergency situationa figure higher than the analyzes of the last three years, according to figures from the Integrated Classification of Food Security in Phases (IPC), cited by FAO in a statement.

This means, added the information, that households they face great deficiencies that cause high acute malnutrition and excess mortalityor they are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms to cover food needs, such as selling their productive assets or consuming seeds instead of planting them, which increases their vulnerability.

With 75% of Haiti’s population living in rural areas, “urgent measures are needed to save lives and quickly restore the agricultural livelihoods of vulnerable farmers,” he said.

For example, he cited, investing $125 in a package of horticulture seeds can generate 20 times its value in production vegetables, allowing families to have access to food and generate income by selling part of the product obtained.

Within the framework of the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO has requested $61.7 million to help 700,000 people improve their access to food.

Activities will focus on the supply of agricultural inputs (seeds and fertilizers) to increase the production of staple foods and vegetables (2023 spring and winter seasons), as well as to protect livestock assets, through the supply of poultry and goats, as well as vaccinations and veterinary treatment.

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The communiqué recalls that Haiti is going through a protracted crisis, “that has become sharper and more complex than ever“, aggravated by a spiral of violence and the reappearance of cholera, which has already caused nearly 600 deaths in the country since last October.

Thus, he adds, “the purchasing power of households continues to be affected by high food prices, linked to the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar, and the increase in the cost of transportation.”

This, together with bad harvests, has forced the population to resort more and more to negative mechanisms to meet their basic needs, the note added.

The FAO also recalls that Haiti is one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters that have caused great damage and loss of human life.

Many communities are still struggling to recover from disasters such as Tropical Storm Grace and the 2021 earthquake, which devastated parts of the Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud departments, the agency’s note concluded.

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