- On October 14, the United Nations warned of an unprecedented level of hunger recorded in Haiti. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification index (IPC) analysis, a record 4.7 million people are currently facing acute hunger (IPC 3 and above), including 1.8 million people in Emergency phase (IPC 4) and, for the first time ever in Haiti, 19,000 people are in Catastrophe phase, phase 5, which is the highest level of the IPC.¹
- Key contributors to food insecurity in Haiti include a high poverty rate and low agricultural productivity, which, in turn, results from frequent natural disasters, a high level of environmental degradation, and heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture. With an unprecedented level of violence and an alarming inflation rate of 33%, many are without food, fuel, jobs, or access to public services. With almost half of the population now facing acute hunger, nearly 100,000 children under age 5 suffer from severe acute malnutrition, making them especially vulnerable to cholera.¹ ²
- Agriculture plays an important role in the Haitian economy, representing half of total employment, while 40 percent of employment is in services and 10 percent in industry. Agriculture contributes 18 percent of GDP, services 23 percent, and industry 57 percent. Most farmers operate small-scale subsistence farms and have access to less than two hectares of land. The agricultural sector is important for Haitians’ livelihoods and food and nutrition security, but it is plagued by environmental degradation, soil erosion, underinvestment, and low productivity. Women play a critical role in Haitian agriculture, yet they experience inequitable treatment; for example, they lack the same land inheritance rights as men and receive lower wages for agricultural work.²
- In addition to immediate food aid provided by the NGOs, long-term plans to strengthen Haiti’s infrastructure and its independence on its own agriculture sector is essential in achieving the country’s food security. Six pathways implemented by the World Food Programme can serve as good examples to alleviate and improve food insecurity in Haiti:
- School feeding: provide immediate food needs through cash transfers.³
- Support for local agriculture and markets: Supporting national agriculture in line with the Government’s rural development priorities.
- Resilience building: promoting risk reduction activities such as watershed management, rehabilitation of key infrastructure and canal irrigation.
- Capacity Strengthening: support the Government to develop policies that promote food security and nutrition objectives, such as the National School Feeding Policy and National Social Protection Policy.
- Emergency Preparedness: Prepare emergency stocks prior to the hurricane season, which runs from June to November each year.
- Nutrition: providing emergency food assistance, complemented by Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) activities with the goal to influence healthy behaviours for better nutrition.
- Given the island’s natural habitat and landscape, the nation is vulnerable to the consequence of climate change. The positioning of Haiti’s cities—on the coast, on riverbeds, and on hillsides—increases their vulnerability to flooding and landslides, while deforestation and poor soil quality leave the Haitian countryside ill prepared to deal with worsening climatic conditions. Funds should also be diverted to prioritize coastal resilience, coastal zone management and agricultural adaptation. Investments are desperately needed to strengthen resilience and to help communities adapt their livelihoods and withstand weather- and climate-related shocks.²
With the help of our volunteers, donors and our supporters, Itiah Angels for Learning recently shipped 2 drums of food to the school to distribute to the students as soon as they are able to.
Written by Jennifer Shu-Ping Chen
- United Nations News. (2022). ‘Catastrophic’ hunger recorded in Haiti for first time, UN warns Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/10/1129537
- Global Hunger Index. (2019). Haiti: A Closer Look at Hunger nd Undernutrition. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.globalhungerindex.org/case-studies/2019-haiti.html
- World Food Programme. (2022). Haiti. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.wfp.org/countries/haiti