PORT-AU-PRINCE, August 11, 2022 – Haiti is stuck in a hunger and security crisis after a massive earthquake killed more than 2,200 people in the Caribbean nation a year ago, with about 4.5 million people suffering from acute food insecurity (IPC3 or higher) compared to 4.4 million people before earthquake.
Haiti is currently in a major economic crisis, with inflation at 26%, making it difficult for families to afford food and other necessities, or to sell crops in local markets.
Across the country, hunger has become a norm for children, many of whom have no idea if they will have food tomorrow. In nutritional crises, children are always the most vulnerable and at risk of developing severe acute malnutrition without enough food and the right nutritional balance. Malnutrition can cause stunting, stunt mental and physical development, increase the risk of fatal disease, and eventually lead to death.
On August 14 last year, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Tiburon peninsula near Petite Trou-de-Nips in Haiti, about 150 kilometers west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The first earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks that affected more than 800,000 people, including 340,000 children.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Save the Children deployed a team to respond to the needs of children and their families in the hardest-hit areas of the South and Grand Anse, including deploying emergency education, protection, water, hygiene, health, nutrition programs and cash assistance to more than 100,000 people.
Inta, a 7-year-old girl from the southwestern region of Haiti, lost her home, crops and property in last year’s earthquake. Antha’s family received cash and other support from Save the Children, where they were able to rebuild their house with aluminum panels and pay school fees. However, the deepening economic crisis across the country means that the family is now hungry every day.
Antha said, “When I don’t eat, I don’t feel good because it saddens me. I can’t play anymore. It’s because I’m hungry.”
“Save the Children sent a cash transfer to my mother, so she could buy food. The food made me happy, and I was also happy with the money they sent because my mother didn’t have the money to buy food.”
Perpetue Vendredi, director of program operations for Save the Children in Haiti, said:
“In the past 12 months, we have seen a worrying trend of increasing hunger across Haiti. The increasing numbers of hunger cases have become a major challenge for children and their families; more help is needed.
“Thanks to donor support, Save the Children was able to provide lifesaving assistance to thousands of people whose lives collapsed on August 14, 2021. In the past year, while many people have been able to rebuild their homes, for many others the situation remains precarious. The humanitarian response remains woefully underfunded as this crisis has been largely ignored with other global events taking over.
“We call on donors to provide additional and flexible funding to support the expansion of urgent life-saving services to communities most at risk. Children and their families are in urgent need of food, nutrition, health, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, social protection and livelihood support to prevent the spread of malnutrition, disease, starvation and death.
“In addition to increasing funding for immediate life-saving services, donors must continue to invest in early warning and proactive action to better manage the risks of hunger crises and mitigate their effects before it is too late.”
Save the Children supported five health centers and hospitals to resume primary health services in the aftermath of the earthquake, including sexual and reproductive health services, antenatal and postnatal care, as well as mental health referrals. Save the Children operates 11 nutrition centers providing advice on maternal and infant nutrition, raising awareness and screening for malnutrition; and training programs for frontline health workers, community health workers and partners.
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