Haiti's Food Shortage Crippling Poor Families
Haiti has been bracing for an extreme food shortage, and it is arriving as the June and July harvests are set to begin. This year's rainfall is anticipated to be well below average. The Spring-Summer harvest season is important because crop yields comprise two-thirds of the harvest that contributes to the island's yearly food output.
Other factors causing agricultural underproduction include 2012's drought and two major hurricanes that hit that year as well. Of the 10 million people living on the island, 75% of them exist on barely $2.00 a day. Of this figure, 1.5 million are suffering from malnutrition, 82,000 of them pre-schoolers. Unfortunately, the country experiences one of the highest levels of child hunger in the Western Hemisphere, which contributes to its high ranking on the failed states index.
The numbers of families residing within drought zones have been forced to take extreme measures: sell off their young livestock, fell trees to make charcoal for sale, and run up food bills with over-extended credit. Desperate families take these drastic measures because the government of Haiti has not enacted laws to preserve natural resources and mitigate natural disasters. When hurricanes and the flooding it brings occur, the lack of tree cover causes the top soil to wash away, making agricultural production impossible.
But the UN World Food Program (WFP) has stocked emergency provisions in anticipation of the hurricane season, beginning this month and lasting until November. The inventory will feed 300,000 people.
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