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Millions Going Hungry in Haiti 10 Years After Devastating Earthquake

Vendors carry salvaged merchandise from the burned ruins of the Guerite Market that was engulfed in flames in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,vJan. 14, 2020.

The World Food Program is appealing for $62 million to provide life-saving food assistance over the next six months to 700,000 people suffering from severe hunger in the Caribbean island of Haiti.

Millions of Haitians still lack proper shelter, food and other basic necessities 10 years after a devastating earthquake killed 300,000 people and displaced one-and-one-half-million.

The World Food Program says one in three Haitians need urgent food assistance in both rural and urban areas. It says one million of them are suffering from severe hunger, causing rates of acute malnutrition to rise.

Homes are seen in the Taba Isa earthquake survivor camp in Port au Prince, Haiti. (Renan Toussaint/VOA Creole)
Homes are seen in the Taba Isa earthquake survivor camp in Port au Prince, Haiti. (Renan Toussaint/VOA Creole)

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs says her agency is scaling up its operation to provide emergency food aid to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people.

“Ten years after the earthquake, WFP is still concerned about a decline in food security, with 3.7 million people severely food insecure and affected also by rising prices, drop in agricultural production, and social unrest, of course, which has heavily disrupted economic activity in Haiti,” Byrs said.

Anti-government riots last year disrupted the ability of humanitarian agencies to bring food and other aid to people in the impoverished country. Byrs says the WFP responded to this emergency by providing food to more than 230,000 of the most vulnerable. She says it also furnished 300,000 school children with daily food, including hot meals.

Byrs says donors have contributed $5 million since WFP launched its emergency appeal in December. That means the agency still needs $57 million to continue its life-saving operation for the next six months.

She notes 80 percent of the 700,000 beneficiaries are women and children, many of whom can barely manage to find enough food for one meal a day.