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Food & Hunger

How Haiti Cut Hunger in Half Following Devastation of Hurricane Matthew

The devastation to Haiti’s infrastructure and agriculture wrought by Hurricane Matthew in the fall of 2016 left millions starving in the wake of the storm, a number that has already been cut in half thanks to emergency relief efforts. 

Hunger in some of the hardest-hit regions, including Sud and Grande-Anse, has been halved since early October thanks to a collaborative effort between the United Nations Food Programme and Haiti’s National Coordination for Food Security, the organizations said in a new report. 

Two major leaders in disaster response and food assistance  the World Food Programme and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization  targeted regions where hunger was the most prominent as a result of the hurricane. 

Read More: Food & Hunger: 7 Ways the Obamas Worked to Keep People Fed

In Sud and Grande-Anse, 1 million people were left hungry without access to food after the storm tore apart the island nation. Now, that number has been reduced to 400,000. 

The two organizations worked with departments of the Haitian government to bring food to those who needed it the most and do it in the most effective way. They started by providing food assistance to 20,000 pregnant and nursing mothers, and then 21,000 of the most vulnerable households in Sud and Grande-Anse. 

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has also been providing seeds and financial agricultural support in Haiti to help rebuild a stable food system in a country fraught with instability. 

“The results of the assessment show the very positive impact of our collective efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, but also the pressing need to continue and redirect assistance to new areas with higher levels of food insecurity, as well as initiate recovery interventions,” said Ronald Tran Ba Huy, the World Food Programme’s representative in Haiti. 

Together, these organizations have kept alive some of the world’s most at risk, hungry, and vulnerable people. 

Yet, 14.5% of the country  about 1.5 million people  still lack access to sufficient food months after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti. 

In the northwest regions of Artibonite, Nippes and La Gonave, food crops were decimated from the storm and severe flooding, exacerbating the effects of a three-year-long drought. One million people live in the region and are still struggling to find adequate food.  

Read More: Photos, Video of Hurricane Matthew’s Path of Destruction in Haiti, Cuba

In October, food was so scarce it prompted Guy Philippe, a well-known war criminal, to come out from hiding and beg for assistance.

Now, to finish the battle against hunger in Haiti, FAO and WFP are asking for more resources to curb the vast remaining cases of food scarcity, saying they need another $113 million to end hunger in Haiti for good.