Disasters & Accidents

Hunger: Haiti’s other pandemic

Port-au-Prince, Jan 22 (EFE).- A modest Port-au-Prince soup kitchen that used to serve 500 hot meals a day has run out of produce amid growing food insecurity in Haiti, which affects more than 4 million people on the island.

A bleakness has descended on the once vibrant dining room, located in the Haitian capital’s Delmas commune.

“When a person is hungry and has no resources, morality disappears, good manners no longer have a place,” Winchel Calvaire, who runs the soup kitchen, told Efe. “They lose dignity in society, they have to survive”.

The soup kitchen has been in a state of disfunction since November due to a lack of sponsors.

“The restaurant doesn’t work because we don’t have the means. We don’t have food to cook (…) we don’t have any support,” Calvaire added.

The restaurant donates much more food than it sells as part of its program against hunger amid the “vulnerability, misery, hunger, suffering” of millions of families, he said.

Approximately 4.3 million people in rural and urban Haiti suffer from high levels of acute food insecurity, nearly double the figures reported in 2018.

A million people need urgent help, according to data from several organizations.

Between March and June 2022, the number of people experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity and requiring assistance is expected to rise to some 4.6 million, including 1.3 million in an urgent situation.

Insecurity, low production, natural disasters and inflation are the main causes of the current levels of acute food insecurity in Haiti, according to the National Coordination for Food Security.

Another factor is the indiscriminate felling of trees in Haiti, where forest coverage is barely 2%.

“People take advantage of everything,” Judsen Dorcelus, a farmer living in the town of Cabaret, said. “They need the money; they exploit the environment due to the absence of the state.

“Haiti is essentially an agricultural country, but we can see the country going downhill,” he added.

The socio-political and economic crisis in Haiti has worsened since the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moise, to the point where a decent meal is a luxury.EFE


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