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.

Note to the editor:

Broadcast quality video material available here
High-resolution photos available here

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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.

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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.


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

YANGON – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that its lifesaving operations in Myanmar are being held back by a major funding shortfall, with over 70 percent of its funding needs over the coming six months still unmet.

A massive wave of COVID-19 infections currently surging throughout the country is compounding hunger, as families struggle amid job losses, rising food and fuel prices, political unrest, violence and displacement.

In April, the U.N. World Food Programme estimated that the number of people facing hunger could more than double to 6.2 million in the next six months, up from 2.8 million prior to February. Subsequent monitoring surveys carried out by the U.N. World Food Programme have shown that since February, more and more families are being pushed to the edge, struggling to put even the most basic food on the table.

“We have seen hunger spreading further and deeper in Myanmar. Nearly 90 percent of households living in slum-like settlements around Yangon say they have to borrow money to buy food; incomes have been badly affected for many,” said U.N. World Food Programme Myanmar Country Director Stephen Anderson.

Starting in May, the U.N. World Food Programme launched a new urban food response, targeting 2 million people in Yangon and Mandalay, Myanmar’s two biggest cities. The majority of people to receive assistance are mothers, children, people with disabilities and the elderly. To date, 650,000 people have been assisted in urban areas.

More than 220,000 people have fled violence since February, and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme has reached 17,500 newly-displaced people and is working to assist more in August. In total, 1.25 million people in Myanmar have received U.N. World Food Programme food, cash and nutrition assistance in 2021 across urban and rural areas.

However, with $86 million more required over the next six months, it is uncertain how far these operations can go.

“The people of Myanmar are facing their most difficult moment in living memory. It is critically important for us to be able to access to all those in need and receive the funding to provide them with humanitarian assistance,” Anderson explained.

“Now more than ever, the people of Myanmar need our support. We are deeply grateful for the backing of the international community – the people of Myanmar will never forget your generosity and solidarity,” said Anderson.

Broadcast quality footage available here.

Photos available here.

Long-form story available on wfp.org here.

WFP Yangon food security monitoring – May 2021 available here.

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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@WFP_Media and @WFPAsiaPacific

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