Haiti's 3 year drought is worsening living conditions

With the ongoing El Niño the country's food security is at risk, meanwhile the the UN World Food Programme promised to help 1 million Haitians in an emergency operation. 

Haiti has been devastated since an earthwake of 7,0 magnitude in 2010 shook the country. Six years after the disaster up to 59,000 people still live in tent camps which were supposed to be a temporary measure.

But what's striking the country right now are the consequences of an ongoing drought that now reaches three years. With El Niño, conditions are worsening and a food security crisis is expanding.

El Niño remained active during 2015's two growing seasons, the year reported the lowest rainfall in 30 years during the spring.

According to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), Haiti is among the areas of higher concern. The extended drought has resulted on below average agricultural seasons, high staple food prices and reduced labour demand.

The national crop production in 2015 was less than 50% than the 2010-2015 average. High seed prices and lower incomes may cause a decrease of 20% to 30% in cropped areas. Also, locally produced foods like maize meal went up between 6% in January 2016 to 120% in April above the last 5 year average price.

Despite rainfall in early April in the southern areas of the country, high food prices and low incomes will continue and increase through at least June 2016.

This situation means 3,6 million people, one third of Haiti's population,  are facing food insecurity. Among this figure are the 1,5 million people who suffer form severe food insecurity and have no idea where their next meal will be coming from.

To tackle this emergency, the Word Food Programme will be aiding 1 million Haitians, with food. This will be added to the 120,000 people already assisted with their help.

In the first phase, about 700,000 people will be receiving money transfers to buy food and help the local economy. Then about 200,000 people will be receiving food for working in the conservation of land their communities.

Additionally the WFP plans to aid pregnant women and children by delivering a mix of cereal fortified with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent malnutrition.

They also collaborate with the National Programme of School Meals by serving meals to 485,000 students in 1,700 schools.

This project has a cost of $72 million to ease the crisis from April to September and an additional $7 million to maintain the school meals until the end of the next school year. They'll be receiving the funds from the European Commission and US financing.

Besides food insecurity Haiti is being threatened by and increase in rural poverty. From the 4.4 million people depending on the countryside, at least 75% are living under the poverty threshold.

Lastly, the election crisis since last August has affected both public and private investment, weakening the economy and threatening especially, poor households.

 LatinAmerican Post

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