Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Isaac, and a drought have left Haiti reeling, even as the impoverished nation is still picking up the pieces after early 2010’s devastating earthquake.
Now, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warns that 1.5 million residents of Haiti potentially will remain at risk of food insecurity well into 2013 if they receive inadequate assistance between now and then.
“At the moment, one of our biggest worries is in areas that are still isolated after Hurricane Sandy, where women and children face worsening nutrition,” Myrta Kaulard, who heads the WFP mission in Haiti, said in a release. “At the same time, it is crucial to help Haitian farmers so that they can plant crops for the small December season and for the main agricultural season in the spring.”
When Sandy hit two weeks ago, Haiti was inundated with flood waters and slammed with high winds, affecting hundreds of thousands and killing 54 people.
In Haiti, natural disasters like storms tend to be amplified due to the country’s poor infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Even worse, the country is still reeling from the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that hit in January 2010. The quake killed more than 300,000 and displaced 370,000 people, who are still living in camps.
The International Federation of Human Rights, in a scathing report issued this week, said Haiti is rife with “human insecurity” and claimed that the country’s “situation deteriorates by the day,” while also pointing out that Sandy has aggravated problems in the country.
Living conditions for people in camps were described by the group as “shameful and getting worse,” while there have been a number of forced expulsions from camps on private land, populations have been “abandoned” by nongovernmental organizations, and some women and children living in camps have been sexually abused.
The U.N. estimates that $19 million is needed to fund operations to distribute food and treat the malnutrition of women and children. The funding will also go to projects to provide income for 170,000 people who are working on flood control, rehabilitating farming lands, and watershed management that were apparently damaged during Sandy.
The U.N. estimates that 90 percent of Haiti’s harvest was destroyed during floods and the next harvest season does not start until March, The Associated Press reported.
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