Millions of Haitians in Need of Food Assistance Following Hurricane Matthew
The hardest-hit areas of the island have also been some of the most difficult to distribute food to, as heavy rains over the last few weeks have resulted in a number of floods.
After Hurricane Matthew swept through the island nation of Haiti a few weeks ago, the severely impacted country has a major food crisis on their hands. It is estimated that around 1.4 million Haitians are in need of food assistance following the devastating storm that killed over a thousand people and damaged countless farms, structures, and businesses.
In a joint statement made this week by the U.N.'s World Food Program, the Haitian National Coordination for Food Security, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and the government of Haiti, it was revealed that nearly 800,000 of the millions who have been affected by the destruction are in "dire need of immediate food aid."
In a call for aid from other nations, Miguel Barreto, regional director of the World Food Program, says that Haiti's local products will soon be depleted and the organization urgently needs more funding. Though the agency has been able to distribute three thousand metric tons of emergency rations to 200,000 people so far, that number is still a far cry from the amount that is in immediate and dire need.
The hurricane was particularly damaging to coconut, mango, and banana crops—the most prolific sources of food for the small nation. According to World Food Program worker Alexis Masciarelli, some areas in the Grand'Anse region on the island's southern peninsula have experienced "up to a 100-percent loss" of crops. "What's striking is that all the food trees are gone, a vast majority of them," Masciarelli tells ABC News.
The hardest-hit areas of the island have also been some of the most difficult to distribute food to, as heavy rains over the last few weeks have resulted in a number of floods. Another obstacle to distribution has been "attacks on convoys" carried out by "desperate and hungry people," Masciarelli says. In his first trip to the island's southern peninsula, the worker says he "could just see people eating whatever they could find on the ground."
While long-term solutions to the loss of land and farm supplies have yet to be determined, in the meantime, the government of Haiti and World Food Program are urging all who are able to lend a helping hand.
Visit the World Food Program website, and read this guide for ways to donate to Hurricane Matthew relief