PORT AU PRINCE – Battered by multiple crises in recent years, Haitians who survived the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake are now dealing with crumbled homes, lost livelihoods and limited or no access to food. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is stepping up its ongoing vital support to desperately hungry Haitians in the area and working with the Government and partners to extend support to those newly in need.

“It is heart breaking to see families sleeping on the streets without a roof over them. Their houses have been reduced to dust. Public buildings like schools, churches and hotels where they could have found temporary shelter have also been destroyed,” said Lola Castro, U.N. World Food Programme Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, from Les Cayes in Haiti.

“The earthquake rattled people who were already struggling to feed their families due to economic and climate shocks, and insecurity. The compound effects of multiple crises are devastating communities in the south faced with some of the highest levels of food insecurity in the country.”

The U.N. World Food Programme plans to provide support to 215,000 people in urgent need of food assistance in the Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments, the worst affected areas. This is an increase from the 138,000 people we were assisting before the earthquake.

Before the disaster struck, the U.N. World Food Programme was providing food and cash assistance in the south of Haiti. The U.N. World Food Programme has reached 48,000 people in the affected areas since August 14 and distributed over 15,000 hot meals, mostly in hospitals, to patients, their families and medical staff.

Expanding ongoing support, the U.N. World Food Programme has provided food to 13,000 people this week in the remote mountainous areas of Maniche and Camp Perrin, both in the Sud department. With limited access to food, people told the U.N. World Food Programme that they were left to picking fruits from trees to sustain themselves. The U.N. World Food Programme also plans to extend food distributions to food insecure urban areas in the south.

Access to communities in the south was already limited due to recurrent political unrest, gang fights and roadblocks. Damage caused by the earthquake to roads and bridges and heavy rain, following Tropical Storm Grace, are posing further challenges.

Ensuring a coordinated and efficient response to the emergency, the U.N. World Food Programme is working closely with the Haitian General Directorate of Civil Protection and the National Coordination for Food Security.

Maintaining a vital lifeline to the affected south, the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) managed by the U.N. World Food Programme, is flying a helicopter with medical and humanitarian supplies as well as frontline workers to support relief efforts. The U.N. World Food Programme is also using trucks and a barge to transport water, hygiene kits, blankets, food and fuel for the humanitarian community.

Haiti is in the midst of the Atlantic hurricane season, predicted to be more turbulent than average. Supporting disaster preparedness efforts in the country, the U.N. World Food Programme had prepositioned food across Haiti to respond swiftly in case of an emergency. The U.N. World Food Programme thanks its donors for flexibility to use resources for the hurricane season for this emergency.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14 has left more than 2,200 people dead and over 12,000 injured with severe damage to roads and public infrastructure.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

WASHINGTON, DC (August 24, 2021) – World Food Program USA has donated $250,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support critical earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. The UPS Foundation, our longtime corporate partner, contributed $100,000 of that donation in addition to providing transportation and logistics support for the emergency response. The U.N. World Food Programme estimates that 215,000 Haitians need urgent food assistance.

Following the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake in southwestern Haiti on August 14, the U.N. World Food Programme swiftly mobilized to provide logistics support to the Haitian government, in addition to transporting government and humanitarian staff to affected areas along with medical and emergency relief supplies – water, hygiene kits, blankets, food and fuel.

“We are committed to helping Haitians recover from this devastating disaster and are grateful for the support of The UPS Foundation and individual donors who have made this donation possible,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA. “This funding helps support the U.N. World Food Programme’s relief efforts on the ground, which has included hot meals or cash transfers to 9,000 people, as well as logistics support for medical relief operations and providing food in hospitals to injured people, their families and medical staff.”

“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti,” said Joe Ruiz, vice president of social impact and The UPS Foundation. “The UPS Foundation is committed to delivering disaster relief and improving the well-being of the Haitian community by tapping into our partnerships and innovative logistical expertise for health and humanitarian solutions to those impacted by this awful disaster.”

The earthquake struck as Haiti was already coping with multiple crises, including widespread hunger, political instability, gang violence and rising food prices – all in the midst of an active hurricane season. Haiti has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world. Nearly half the population (about 4.4 million) was already struggling to put food on the table, and of those, 1.2 million are facing severe hunger. The U.N. World Food Programme, which has operated in Haiti since 1969, provided food assistance to 900,000 Haitians in 2020, with plans to reach 1.3 million in 2021.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/mission-history.

 

Media Contact:
Toula Athas
Director, Communications
World Food Program USA
tathas@wfpusa.org
202-627-3940

By Barron Segar

All of us at World Food Program USA have been heartbroken by the startling images of grieving families and devastated communities coming out of Haiti following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday. As of August 16, the effects of the earthquake include over 1,300 fatalities, more than 5,000 people injured and 4,000 homes destroyed.

Americans watching and reading the breaking news reports are reminded of the devastation Haiti has already endured, including the massive earthquake in 2010 that left more than 200,000 dead and countless families homeless. The country is still recovering, even a decade later. Now, this quake is impacting vulnerable families as they deal with the increased threat of COVID-19, as well as multiple manmade crises: political instability, gang violence and high food prices. Even before this weekend’s earthquake, nearly half the population – 4.4 million people – needed immediate food assistance and over 1.2 million of them are suffering from severe hunger.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working closely with the Haitian government and authorities on the front lines of this emergency to support logistics efforts, transport lifesaving supplies and humanitarian workers to affected areas, and deliver emergency food assistance to people in field hospitals in Les Cayes and Jérémie. And, thanks to the U.S. government’s Agency for International Development (USAID), we have 3,500 metric tons of food prepositioned across the country to respond swiftly in case of disasters such as this one. This includes rice, beans and vegetable oil and can support up to 270,000 people for one month.

But a month-long state of emergency has just been declared by the government, and survivors will need weeks of support to get back on their feet.

We cannot do this work alone. I’m calling on the American people to please give their most generous gift today so we can ramp up our logistics response and rush lifesaving support to the people of Haiti. With your donation, the U.N. World Food Programme can deliver food to help people in urgent need when disaster strikes. A gift of $75 can provide an emergency box of food that can feed a family of five for an entire month. Please donate today.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

World Food Program USA, a 501©(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/about-us.

Media Contact:
Bo Bartley
Senior Manager, Public Relations
bbartley@wfpusa.org
202-627-3737

ROME – The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), a critical lifeline transporting humanitarian workers and lifesaving cargo to some of the most challenging and hard-to-reach locations, urgently requires $204 million to continue existing operations beyond February 2021.

Disruptions in UNHAS operations have the potential to impact major humanitarian operations including those in Yemen, the Syrian Arab Republic and Haiti, where conditions continue to worsen due to ongoing conflict and the impact of COVID-19.

“UNHAS is, in most cases, the only way that humanitarian organizations can reach people in need, particularly in countries with ongoing conflict and where access by road or sea is not feasible,” says Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, which manages the service. “The disruption of UNHAS operations would cripple the ability of the entire humanitarian community to reach some of the most in need people on the planet.”

UNHAS has not only ensured humanitarian workers and cargo were able to safely reach people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has also played an important role in national responses to the pandemic, transporting test samples and critical medical supplies on behalf of governments in many of the countries in which the service operates.

UNHAS, was established in 2004 to serve the humanitarian community where safe and reliable commercial air transport is not available. The service currently runs 21 operations and carries up to 400,000 passengers every year to over 400 destinations via a fleet of aircraft and helicopters. UNHAS, on top of regular passenger and light cargo transport, also performs crucial medical and security evacuations.

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media and @wfp_logistics

For more information please contact:

Eleonora Ponti, WFP/Rome, Tel.+39 342 993 2998, eleonora.ponti@wfp.org
Alicia Stafford, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 342 771 9577, alicia.stafford@wfp.org

ROME – A basic meal is far beyond the reach of millions of people in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic joins conflict, climate change and economic troubles in pushing up levels of hunger around the world, according to a new study released today by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The U.N. World Food Program’s Cost of a Plate of Food 2020 report highlights the countries where a simple meal such as rice and beans costs the most, when compared with people’s incomes. South Sudan is once again top of the list, with basic ingredients costing a staggering 186 percent of a person’s daily income. Seventeen of the top 20 countries featured in the index are in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This new report exposes the destructive impact of conflict, climate change and economic crises, now compounded by COVID-19, in driving up hunger,” said U.N. World Food Program’s Executive Director David Beasley. “It’s the most vulnerable people who feel the worst effects. Their lives were already on the edge – prior to the coronavirus pandemic we were looking at the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II – and now their plight is so much worse as the pandemic threatens nothing less than a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The report highlights conflict as a central driver for hunger in many countries, as it forced people from their homes, land and jobs, drastically reducing incomes and the availability of affordable food. The close connection between food security and peace was underlined last week when the U.N. World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work fighting hunger.

In the country with the most expensive plate of food, South Sudan, violence in the east has already displaced more than 60,000 people and is crippling harvests and livelihoods. This has combined with COVID-19 and climate shock to create the threat of famine.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the daily income spent on food by someone living in South Sudan has risen 27 points to 186 percent.

If a resident in New York State had to pay the same proportion of their salary for a basic meal, the meal would cost $393.

The Cost of a Plate of Food 2020 report is released as the U.N. World Food Programme estimates that the lives and livelihoods of up to 270 million people will be under severe threat in 2020, unless immediate action is taken to tackle the pandemic.

Burkina Faso is featured for the first time, with a surge in conflict along with climate changes, being the main drivers.  The number of people facing crisis levels of hunger has tripled to 3.4 million people, while famine threatens 11,000 living in the northern provinces. Burundi is also on the index, as political instability, steep declines in remittances and disruptions to trade and employment leave it exposed to growing hunger.

Haiti is also featured among the top 20, with consumers spending more than a third of their daily incomes on a plate of food – the equivalent of $74 for someone in New York State. Imports account for more than half of food and 83 percent of rice consumed in Haiti, making it vulnerable to inflation and price volatility in international markets, especially during crises such as the current global pandemic.

“People in urban areas are now highly susceptible too, with COVID-19 leading to huge rises in unemployment, rendering people powerless to use the markets they depend on for food. For millions of people, missing a day’s wages means missing a day’s worth of food, for themselves and their children. This can also cause rising social tensions and instability,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Beasley.

U.N. World Food Programme support includes providing food and cash assistance, and helping governments extend their own safety nets. In South Sudan, on top of regular assistance to 5 million people, the U.N. World Food Programme will assist an additional 1.6 million – mostly in urban settings.

In the longer term, effective food systems are essential for access to affordable, nutritious food. The U.N. World Food Programme’s procurement of food means it has a critical role to play in improving the systems that produce food and bring it to people’s tables.

This is the third edition of the U.N. World Food Programme’s Cost of a Plate of Food report (formerly called Counting the Beans) with 36 countries featured this year. The report takes an estimated per capita average income across each country and calculates what percentage people must spend for a basic meal, some beans or lentils for example, and a carbohydrate matching local preferences. The price someone in New York State might pay was calculated by applying the meal-to-income ratio for someone in a developing country to a consumer in the US State.

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Photos available here

The U.N. World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

For more information, contact: 

Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867
Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993

PORT-AU-PRINCE – In a major institutional step towards building resilience against hunger, the Government of Haiti officially adopted its National Social Protection and Promotion Policy, supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Social protection and promotion programs are designed to reduce inequality and discrimination, protect people against unemployment, sickness or losses of income, and increase their economic autonomy. In crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, national social protection systems are a particularly effective platform to provide rapid relief through cash-based transfers, food assistance and other social interventions.

“The pandemic is showing us how badly and urgently social protection is needed,” said Pierre Honnorat, the U.N. World Food Programme’s representative in Haiti.

“We are grateful for the longstanding cooperation with the Government and are proud to have collaborated on this new policy, a foundation for long-term protection against hunger for the most vulnerable people.”

While several social protection initiatives have been implemented in Haiti, like Kore Lavi (2013-2019), the National Policy is an effort to consolidate programs into a coherent institutional system with expanded coverage.

The development of the National Policy was led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MAST), and benefited from the expertise of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the World Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as UNICEF, the World Bank and UN Women.

To support its implementation, the MAST’s national vulnerability database (SIMAST), in which 420,000 Haitian households are registered, will be strengthened and expanded. The SIMAST was originally developed in 2013 with the U.N. World Food Programme’s technical assistance.

The U.N. World Food Programme is currently coordinating a four-year pilot project in the South-East department of Haiti to institutionalize social protection and promotion, with support from the Embassy of Switzerland. The pilot will help strengthen government capacity at the local level and serve as a steppingstone for the gradual implementation of the National Policy across the country.

Erratic weather and economic shocks are the main factors driving up hunger among the poorest Haitians, and more than a third of all Haitians face chronic food insecurity. The COVID-19 crisis is putting a further strain on vulnerable families, who are bearing the brunt of price variations, currency fluctuations and disruptions in diaspora remittances.

In addition, 700,000 Haitian children are going without a daily school meal as the National School Feeding Programme —the largest social safety net in Haiti— remains suspended.

The U.N. World Food Programme works with governments around Latin America and the Caribbean to ensure that government-owned social protection systems are strengthened, expanded and effectively activated in the pandemic to mitigate its social and economic impact on the most vulnerable. More than 200 million people in the region – 35% of the population – are covered by social protection programs.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @wfp_media @wfp_haiti

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

  • Antoine Vallas, WFP/Port-au-Prince, Mob +509 3791 8049
  • Norha Restrepo, WFP/Panama, Mob +507 66715355
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