Photo: WFP/Tanya Birkbeck/2023

WFP Scrambles to Respond to Hunger Crisis in Haiti Amid Funding Crunch as Country Teeters on the Brink

Published March 12, 2024

PORT-AU-PRINCE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is today warning that Haiti is on the edge of a devastating hunger crisis, with humanitarian operations at risk of grinding to a halt, as rampant insecurity limits access to communities and donor funding dries up.

As fighting raging across the capital, the U.N. World Food Programme has been able to reach almost 300,000 people in the first ten days of March, delivering vital hot meals, food distributions, mobile money transfers and meals in schools.

Recent agreements between Haiti and Kenya enabling the deployment of a multinational security support mission to Haiti are promising, but failing to address Haiti’s hunger crisis could itself jeopardize efforts to restore security.

“Haiti needs more than just boots on the ground. Efforts to restore law and order must be matched by an equally effective humanitarian response to meet soaring needs. But the U.N. World Food Programme desperately needs funding to respond to this largely forgotten crisis,” said Cindy McCain, U.N. World Food Programme executive director.

“Our humanitarian operation in Haiti is running on fumes, with funding for hot meals about to run out in two weeks. We need donors to step up today so we can tackle the rising tide of hunger and halt the slide into chaos,” Executive Director McCain added.

The number of displaced people in Haiti has shot up to over 362,000, and more than 35,000 have fled from their homes since the beginning of 2024. Those who run for their lives find themselves sheltering in schools, church yards and construction sites, struggling to feed their families. The U.N. World Food Programme has assisted more than 280,000 people since March 1, including 62,000 hot meals served to 14,000 displaced individuals. However, funding for the hot meals program will run out in two weeks if no one steps forward to support the U.N. World Food Programme’s operations in Haiti.

“Haiti is one of the world’s most severe food crises – 1.4 million Haitians are one step away from famine. This crisis has been largely unaddressed. The U.N. World Food Programme is on the ground and responding, but we need consistent and safe access to deliver assistance to people who need it,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, the U.N. World Food Programme country director in Haiti.

The U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 2.4 million people in 2024 through emergency assistance (cash and in-kind food rations) – security permitting – and is working with the government to provide school meals and to implement longer-term programs to help Haitian produce their own food.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s leading 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.

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