A United Nations food relief agency says it remains “extremely concerned” by the plight of 1.5 million people in Haiti who need food assistance following extreme weather conditions and poor harvests.
In addition to the 1.5 million people facing food insecurity, the World Food Programme (WFP) said a further 6.7 million people in the impoverished, French-speaking Caribbean country are struggling to meet their own food needs on a regular basis.
Before the hurricane season, which runs from June to November, WFP said it had pre-positioned emergency supplies to cover the needs of 300,000 people for two days with ready-to-use food and for four weeks with staple food rations.
The agency also said it had established agreements with 15 partners and had begun emergency distribution to 200,000 beneficiaries through schools in the worst-affected communities.
WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told reporters here that the agency plans to assist 1.1 million people in 2013, more than half of them children, through school meals and specialized food to treat malnutrition.
Meanwhile, the National Coordination for Food Security identified 44 communes in Haiti, where the prevalence of severe food insecurity was above 50 per cent of the rural population.
WFP said it is also providing about 34,000 vulnerable people in rural areas with income opportunities via cash for assets programmes.
But Byrs said WFP urgently needs US$17.2 million in funding to meet these needs and that the agency is currently facing a shortfall of US$1.5 million to cover emergency preparedness
Read more: Caribbean360.com