Rebuilding Lives
in Haiti
Image depicting Rebuilding Lives in Haiti
Photo: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli
Photo: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli
A Small Country with enormous challenges

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas and one of the most food-insecure places in the world. Electricity, running water and health care are scarce. Political crises have rocked its economy while devastating natural disasters have made it impossible for families to grow enough food to feed themselves.

$2

Three-quarters of the population lives on less than $2 a day

50%

Out of 10.7 million people, half are undernourished

#168

Out of 188 countries, Haiti ranks 168 in human development

The Makings of a Catastrophe

Poverty

Nearly 60 percent of Haitians live in poverty. Of those, nearly 25 percent live in extreme poverty. Half of the population earns less than $1 per day, making it enormously difficult for families to afford food and other necessities, like housing and health care. Education is often the first expense to be cut, so children are taken out of school, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hunger.

Photo: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli

Agricultural Challenges

Half of all jobs in Haiti are in agriculture and it accounts for 25 percent of the GDP. Most farms are small – averaging less than 2.5 acres – and low-quality land makes farming less-productive. Spotty land ownership and leasing regulations present significant problems to small-scale farmers, putting them at increased risk of food shortages.

Photo: WFP/Thomas Freteur

Reliance on Imports

Despite its large agricultural sector, Haiti currently does not produce enough food to feed its population. More than 50 percent of the country's overall food needs, and close to 80 percent of its main staple, rice, are imported. This makes the country vulnerable to inflation and price volatility in international markets.

Photo: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli

Extreme Weather

These issues are exacerbated by the fact that Haiti is especially prone to natural disasters. It is the fourth most weather-affected country in the world, according to the Climate Risk Index. Over the past two decades, severe storms, flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes have overturned lives again and again. For people who are barely getting by, one strong storm can destroy everything.

Photo: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli
2010

A magnitude 7 earthquake killed between 46,000 and 316,000 people

2015

Haiti endured its third year of drought, exacerbated by El Niño

2016

Hurricane Mathew left 806,000 people in need of urgent food assistance

When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti’s southern coast on October 4th, 2016, it claimed the lives of more than 800 people, left extensive flooding and mudslides, damaged roads and buildings, and caused widespread electricity and water shortages. In this episode of Hacking Hunger, we hear about the storm from two different perspectives: Laura Cantave, a former WFP USA employee who was born in Haiti, and Alexis Masciarelli, a WFP Communications Officer who arrived in Haiti four days after the hurricane hit.

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Helping Haitians Build Resilience

WFP has been present in Haiti for more than 50 years, focusing on four key areas of assistance: school meals, building resilience, nutrition interventions and disaster preparedness.

School Meals

WFP delivers daily meals to 365,000 children in 1,400 schools. It’s the country’s largest food safety net, and the Government is on track to take over the program by 2030. WFP sources as much food as it can from local farmers to improve children’s dietary diversity and stimulate local markets.

Food for Assets

With this program, participants are given food in exchange for their work on community projects such as roads, dams and irrigation networks. These projects help build communities’ resilience and reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather while meeting immediate food needs.

Early Nutrition

Around the world, 45 percent of deaths among children under age 5 are caused by malnutrition. To prevent an increase in acute malnutrition in Haiti, WFP is providing supplementary food assistance to 41,000 children under 5, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

Disaster Prep

WFP works closely with the Haitian government to set up emergency radio communication centers that can be used during an emergency. And, every year, WFP pre-positions food before hurricane season, which covers the potential needs of up to 300,000 people for a month.

But there is so much more to be done. As of today:
3.6 million Haitians face some form of food insecurity
among them, 1.5 million are severely food-insecure
WFP needs $88M to continue its lifesaving operations in Haiti for the next year
Take action today