As the only low-income country in the Americas, the Republic of Haiti in the Caribbean continues to face significant humanitarian, political and development challenges. Three-quarters of Haitians live on less than US$2 per day, and half of the population earns less than US$1 per day. Many people don’t have ready access to electricity, water, sanitation or healthcare.
These issues have been exacerbated by a series of natural disasters over the past two decades, including severe storms, flooding, landslides, drought and the devastating earthquake that rocked the country on 12 January 2010.
In October 2016, during Haiti's third consecutive year of El Niño-related drought, the country was hit by the category 4 Hurricane Matthew, which left 806,000 people in need of urgent food assistance.
Livelihoods in agriculture, livestock and fishing were almost totally eradicated in affected areas, with a severe impact on around 2 million people. This has further aggravated an already challenging situation; even before the hurricane, Haiti was unable to produce enough food to meet its needs.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been working in Haiti since 1969, its activities currently focus on emergency response in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, alongside longer-term support for the government that aims to achieve sustainable safety nets and an end to chronic malnutrition.
What is the World Food Programme doing in Haiti?
Emergency responseWFP’s emergency response work currently focuses on supporting the Government of Haiti to provide emergency food assistance to those affected by Hurricane Matthew and the on-going drought. Assistance began with 30-day food ration distributions, and it is now partly shifting to cash-based transfers. WFP also supports the humanitarian community with logistics and telecommunication services to enable food storage and access to hard-to-reach areas.
Emergency preparednessTo help mitigate the impact of future disasters, WFP works to ensure that stocks of emergency food (such as high-energy biscuits, rice and beans) are on standby in the right locations before the start of the hurricane season, which runs from June to November each year.. This enables a quicker response when disaster strikes.
School mealsWFP delivers hot meals to 400,000 Haitian school children each day, across more 1,400 mainly public schools throughout the country. This provides the country’s biggest food safety net. A pilot school meals programme in the Nippes department uses locally produced food bought directly from smallholder farmers, improving children’s nutrition and stimulating the local economy.
Cash and Food for AssetsWFP helps 225,000 people through a Food for Assets programme that builds community resilience while meeting immediate food needs. Participants receive cash transfers in return for helping with projects such as building infrastructure, protecting watersheds and strengthening the skills of rural farmers. A 2015 Cash for Assets programme saw over 100 hectares of forest planted in exchange for cash transfers.
NutritionWFP is working to prevent an increase in rates of acute malnutrition in Haiti, providing supplementary food assistance to 5,000 children under the age of five and 40,000 under the age of two. In addition, 31,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receive additional food to help prevent stunting and micronutrient deficiencies.
Capacity buildingNational Capacity Building is at the core of each WFP programme in Haiti. WFP works closely with the Ministry of Education to create a nationally-owned school feeding programme by 2030. In 2016, an important first step was achieved with the signature of the first National School Feeding Policy, which was drafted under the leadership of WFP. WFP is also supporting the government in strengthening its tools and systems to identify food insecure people and in setting up a national database of vulnerable households.
World Food Programme partners in HaitiWFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in Haiti:
- National School Meals Programme (PNCS)