Study: Food Security Situation in Haiti “Looks Bleak”

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 10, 2012

Above: small children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity (WFP Photo/Elio Rujano)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti’s food security situation continues to deteriorate in the wake of a pair of intense storms this year, according to a study by the Igarape Institute, a Rio de Janeiro-based think tank.

The study surveyed a total of 1,355 households, with a response rate of 84.7 percent. The surveys were conducted in the north of the country during a six-day period beginning Nov. 11. Surveys in other regions were conducted during the week following Hurricane Sandy.

Over the next six to twelve months, Haiti’s food security situation “looks bleak,” the study found.

“With roughly three quarters of households surveyed lacking the seeds, cuttings and tubers need to grow food during the coming season, it is likely that the country will be forced to import more expensive food from abroad to meet the needs of the local population.”

Nearly 70 percent of households in Haiti’s Ouest, Nord and Grand’Anse departments experienced moderate or severe hunger as a result of the storms that hit Haiti this fall, as measured by the USDA Food Security Scale.

Further, more than two thirds of surveyed households lost crops from their fields, according to the report. That echoes findings by Haiti’s government that nearly 70 percent of the country’s crops had been destroyed by Isaac and Sandy.

The situation was not as dire for many of those receiving remittances from family or friends abroad, who were 8.1 times less likely to experience hunger after the storm.

Post-disaster water issues are “pervasive,” the report found, with less than 10 percent of surveyed households drinking treated water in the week after the storm. Overflowing latrines, which were reported by 40 percent of households, may have also contaminated homes’ water supplies.

That also mirrors findings by the United Nations, which said that as many as 1.5 million Haitians were at risk of food insecurity in 2013 due to the storms.

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