- Published on Friday, 14 October 2016 13:03
While the Haitian population is trying to get back on its feet after the passing of hurricane Matthew, the threat of food insecurity looms. The lack of available food because of destroyed crops and dead livestock could plunge Haitians even deeper into poverty.
More than one week after the passing of the terrible hurricane Matthew which made hundreds of victims and left thousands other people homeless, in Southern region Les Nippes, food insecurity is one of the main fears both for inhabitants and for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s teams.
In Haiti, banana plantations have been uprooted © Tugdual de Dieuleveult / SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL
"Some crops had just been harvested, and the others were to be in the following weeks. Recently harvested corn stocks have been flooded. Banana plantations have been blown away by the wind. In some areas, 80% of agricultural produce has been destroyed. Prices are already beginning to increase. Some people are talking about a 30% increase of the price of coconuts. This is unbearable for the majority of the population who has a very weak income,” Emergency Team Coordinator Anne-Gaëlle Lebeau explains.
Today, inhabitants from the region are picking fruit and vegetable from the ground to feed themselves or to sell them on the market. This option cannot be sustainable. Soon, nothing will be left on the ground and products will be less available on the market. ”Of course, there will be food distributions by the World Food Programme. But this essential aid is not sustainable either. Food security can only be a durable solution with mid and long-term programs. Seeds and little livestock distributions, dried goods fairs (oil, rice, beans) distributions could be made, and Haitians could need help in clearing out their fields, or building storage areas. These activities are hard to begin now because the human and financial resources are not there.”
"With increasing prices, it will be increasingly difficult to find food”
The population is forced to find new solutions to feed itself. Guillaume, 33, had been growing some fruit and vegetable, but his entire produce was devastated. “Like many of my neighbors, our houses and our crops were destroyed. Nothing grows anymore. Mud, wind, rain… everything is destroyed. I have nothing to eat, and neither does my wife. Replant? Of course we will. But it will take a lot of time. I didn’t have any other income, but I had to earn money to buy food. Here, I am preparing the fireplace to make coal. It is not very profitable, but it is enough to buy something to eat for dinner. But with increasing prices, it will be increasingly difficult to find food.”
© Tugdual de Dieuleveult / SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL
Hit by the drought in 2015 which already weakened their resources, Haitians will become more vulnerable with damages caused by Matthew. They will have to face the situation for long weeks, only with the aid brought by institutions and humanitarian organisations.