UN food programme appeals for $8 million to cover funding shortfall for Haiti

UN food programme appeals for $8 million to cover funding shortfall for Haiti

James T. Morris
The first United Nations agency head to visit Haiti since the unrest and change of government in February today appealed for $8 million for new emergency and special operations, saying the staggering 72 per cent shortfall from a previous appeal was threatening the World Food Programme's (WFP) work in the Caribbean country.

WFP Executive Director James T. Morris said, "Haiti urgently needs support from the international community now. Poor people cannot wait for a return to stability before receiving their daily food rations. Unless we get additional funding quickly, we will begin to see malnutrition rates, especially among children and poor families headed by women, rise in the next few months."

For an emergency eight-month humanitarian programme costing $11.2 million, WFP says it has received $1.5 million from France, $356,295 from Italy, $458,000 from Japan, $912,000 from Norway and $373,000 from Spain.

The food in the new programme goes to 140,000 expectant and nursing mothers, children under 3, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and orphans. Another 373,000 Haitians are being fed by other WFP programmes, the agency said.

Despite a singular history of ending slavery by a military victory and helping to fund Simón Bolívar's independence struggle in Latin America, Haiti has become the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the developing world.

About 80 per cent of its population lives in poverty and it has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS outside Africa. One out of every three children is chronically malnourished, while 8 per cent suffer from acute malnutrition.

"Just as quickly as it rose, Haiti has fallen from the radar of the world media. But the troubles continue, once more in silence," Mr. Morris said.