UN: Hunger in Haiti nullifies efforts to stabilize the country

Hunger in Haiti, currently suffered by five million people in this country, is nullifying international efforts to stabilize the country while reinforcing criminal gangs that increasingly threaten to seize farmland, the UN said today.

"Widespread hunger in Haiti affects efforts to stabilize the country because if people are hungry it is very difficult. Hunger only strengthens armed groups"said by videoconference the representative of the UN World Food Program, Jean-Martin Bauer, from Port-au-Prince.

The relationship between hunger and violence becomes obvious since the latter causes forced displacement of the population, loss of property and employment, all of these situations that make the victims more vulnerable to hunger.

The five million people most affected by problems of access to food are at acute alert levels, according to the measurements used by the UN.

Recently, 20,000 people came to suffer famine-like conditions, but a quick intervention by the World Food Program (WFP) allowed them to get out of that extreme situation, Bauer said.

However, his situation and that of others remains critical as he is now at stage 4 of the food insecurity classification, with 1 representing normal and 5 representing famine.

In category four are mainly areas of the south, northwest and northeast of Haiti, said the person in charge of WFP operations in Haiti.

The insecurity created by criminal gangs in the country, which literally control large areas of the country, has made the airway the only safe way to leave the capital Port-au-Prince, so much of the aid is transported inside the country. the island by plane.

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68% of the distribution to the beneficiaries is done through local organizations, well established in the communities and that therefore have full access to the land, Bauer told reporters in Geneva.

Meanwhile, schools have become one of the main channels of food aid through school feeding programs from which 120,000 children benefit daily, in addition to local farmers, who provide fresh food for preparations.

This has become a way to avoid the sharp increase in food prices in the country, following the trend in international markets.

Haiti imports half of its food and in the case of rice, one of its basic products, it must buy 80% of what it consumes abroad.

Bauer said that despite the great obstacles they face, his agency has provided food aid to 1.6 million people in 2022 and only so far this year the most urgent needs of 850,000 Haitians have been met.

"Although the situation is dangerous, we are able to provide assistance, but this effort could be interrupted if we do not receive more resources soon."stressed the representative.

The WFP said it urgently needs $125 million to continue its operation in Haiti over the next six months.

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