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Hurricane Sandy Brings Hardship for Haitian Families

Source: World Food Programme - Fri, 21 Dec 2012 17:00 GMT
Author: World Food Programme
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For many Haitian families who were struggling to recover from a drought and hurricane Isaac, Sandy brought more devastation.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨ PORT-AU-PRINCE --"I have lost tomatoes, beans and other crops on my three parcels," saysâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ Marie-Laurette Remy, a small farmer who makes a living selling herâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ harvest and now relies on the emergency food rations she received from the World Food Programme. "My fields were flooded when hurricane Sandyâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ hit us."â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨In a country where most of the rural population relies on agriculture and often cultivates small plots of land, climate shocks can leave entire families struggling to get food to eat. Marie-Laurette Remy lives in Marigot, a small community in the South East of Haiti. Inâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ this community tucked between the sea and the mountain, water and mudâ&${esc.hash}128;¨came rushing down when Sandy hit at the end of October. Several housesâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ were flooded. Crops and banana trees were washed away or buried under â&${esc.hash}128;¨the mud.â&${esc.hash}128;¨ Here and in many other communities in the country, people like â&${esc.hash}128;¨Marie-Laurette are picking up the pieces and trying to figure out how â&${esc.hash}128;¨they will feed themselves and their families now that their main â&${esc.hash}128;¨source of food and income is gone.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨"It was clear immediately that emergency food assistance would beâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ necessary for these families," said Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Haiti. "Many were already struggling to recover from two other â&${esc.hash}128;¨weather shocks that had affected their crops in the past six months: A â&${esc.hash}128;¨drought and hurricane Isaac."â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨In the first week following the storm, WFP provided emergency food â&${esc.hash}128;¨rations to 14,000 Haitians. In November, the agency continues to â&${esc.hash}128;¨assist 60,000 of the worst-affected families with food including riceâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ purchased locally from small holder farmers.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨As roads and bridges were badly damaged by the hurricane, it becameâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ clear once again that maintaining stocks of food and humanitarianâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ material in strategic locations throughout the country saves lives.â&${esc.hash}128;¨ Working in coordination with the Directorate for Civil Protection â&${esc.hash}128;¨(DPC), WFP, other UN agencies and NGOs were able to provide much neededâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ relief quickly.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨Humanitarian needs are increasing in Haiti. An evaluation conducted â&${esc.hash}128;¨after the passage of hurricane Isaac estimated that 1.5 million â&${esc.hash}128;¨Haitians were coping with severe food insecurity. A new assessment isâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ underway but initial findings indicate that as many as 20 percentâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ of the population is now struggling to get enough food for their â&${esc.hash}128;¨families.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨To ensure the most vulnerable Haitians do not fall over the edge, WFPâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ will continue to focus on the prevention and treatment of moderateâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ acute malnutrition for 100,000 women and children."The food that WFP is giving me today will help me get by for a fewâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ weeks and I am grateful for that," said Tericia Jeudi after receivingâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ her emergency ration of rice, beans, oil and salt from WFP in Marigot. â&${esc.hash}128;¨Her five small plots of land were damaged by hurricane Sandy, althoughâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ her house was spared.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨"What I really want for the future is help to improve irrigation forâ&${esc.hash}128;¨my land so I can grow more food," Jeudi added, echoing many farmersâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ who had gathered to receive their emergency ration. WFP is beginning a new programme to help up to 170,000 people like Tericia Jeudi get betterâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ access to food by earning a salary while working at improving their â&${esc.hash}128;¨land.â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨Myrta Kaulard says that it is crucial at this time to work with theâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ authorities to help Haitians rehabilitate agricultural land. â&${esc.hash}128;¨â&${esc.hash}128;¨"At the same time, we have to keep our commitment to fightâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ malnutrition and provide meals in schools," she added. "The guarantee â&${esc.hash}128;¨of a meal at school, having access to specialized products to fightâ&${esc.hash}128;¨ malnutrition, these are often the only safety nets that the poorest â&${esc.hash}128;¨Haitians have access to."

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