Food Security in Haiti before Covid-19

Haitian child with plate of food

Photo credit – Amy McTeague

For decades, food security has been a significant problem in Haiti. Malnutrition is responsible for about 60% of all deaths of Haitians under 18 years old. One fifth of all Haitian children and 67 in every 1,000 die before their 5th birthday.

One in three Haitians – around 3.7 million people needs urgent food assistance, up from 2.6 million people at the end of 2018, the United Nations said in December.
(Reuters Dec 2019)

A drought has ravaged harvests over the last few years causing food shortages and the political crisis has driven prices up.

Covid-19 impact on food

Haitian Woman at Market

Photo credit – Amy McTeague

Take all the existing problems with food security, add Covid-19, and you have a tragedy in the making. Currently there is a “Peyi Lock” which is Creole for lock down for the entire country. Given the nature of work in Haiti and the unstable food supply this lockdown is causing less work and no food in some areas.

There are families including many in our villages that will struggle to get more than one meal per day in these times, and some finding themselves eating one meal only every other day! There are no large grocery stores to go purchase food and goods, but only small shops and outdoor markets where people bring their goods to sell and purchase. With the country on lockdown it is unknown what the food supply in these markets will look like or what people will be able to afford.

What is being done by others

In Southern Haiti US Aid/Food for Peace/UN World Food Program are providing cash transfers to 62,000 insecure individuals in drought affected areas while a stockpile of food supplies for 300,000 people for one month has been created in case of a disaster. Our villages in Northern Haiti do not benefit from this aid, and it will not last long on an island of 11 million people.

Food for the Poor has set up an emergency food and medical campaign that has sent food and medical pallets into Haiti and are currently raising money for more.

What Hope for Haitians is doing

Haitian Children Eating

Photo credit – Amy McTeague

We serve a uniquely vulnerable population. Our villages in the rural Northeastern region of Haiti are distant from the centers of aid found in the larger cities. We are already actively working to provide help now. Hope for Haitians is currently working with other local teams that work near our villages, as well as the Haitian village council members we have trained and support, to provide the best aid possible during these times. Just like in every country affected by Covid-19 it is an environment that changes every day. We are actively monitoring it and are in frequent communication with our local contacts to guide and implement our efforts.

To fund this extraordinary effort, we have started an Emergency Appeal to help provide food, water, medical and agriculture to our villages. The people in our villages need our help more than ever, and we will be there to stand by our neighbors.

We encourage all Hope for Haitians supporters, past and present to come to the aid of those in the villages we serve and share this emergency appeal with friends through social media, email and word of mouth.