With crops wiped out and the planting season approaching, food security challenges loom
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – Following Hurricane Matthew’s devastating rampage through Haiti, the global organization Mercy Corps is delivering urgently needed supplies to people in the hard-hit southern peninsula and preparing to help farmers and other affected communities recover as long-term food security threats loom. The United Nations now estimates that 750,000 people are in severe need of assistance across the country.
“We are all very concerned about the devastation in the south, however the coastal areas up to the northwest have been hit intensely as well, and the winter planting season is approaching quickly,” says Jessica Pearl, Haiti Country Director for Mercy Corps. “If we don’t get help to people in time for the winter planting season so they can recover some form of income, we risk a long-term food crisis.”
In Nippes, in the south of Haiti, Mercy Corps is distributing shelter kits and working swiftly to bring clean water to stave off cholera and other water-borne illnesses. In the mountains north of Port-au-Prince, Mercy Corps will provide financial assistance to families with damaged or destroyed homes and help farmers recover from lost or damaged crops and livestock.
“The majority of Haitians survive through subsistence farming,” says Pearl. “Last year they experienced the worst drought in 50 years, and have still not fully recovered. Without income from this harvest, people are worried about how they will feed their families. This is why Mercy Corps plans to support farmers and provide affected people with cash in exchange for work to support Haiti’s long-term recovery.”
According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2.1 million people have been affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and 750,000 people are in ‘severe need’ of assistance. Since 2010 Mercy Corps in Haiti has worked with entrepreneurs to improve their incomes and with farmers to rehabilitate degraded land, maintain fertile soil and diversify their gardens to increase profits and build food security.
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