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People run during a protest to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Haiti’s food insecurity to rise as humanitarian efforts are hampered

People run during a protest to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The number of food insecure people living in Haiti increased from 2.6 million at the end of 2018 to 3.7 million a year later, with another half a million likely in the next three months.

Port-Au-Prince in Haiti (Photo: The Telegraph)

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the increase comes as humanitarian efforts in the country continue to be hampered by its worsening economic state as low growth, high inflation and increased price of a basic food basket marked much of the year

Additionally, the international body said the humanitarian situation has been affected by Haiti’s security context and social tensions which have limited relief access to much of the country.

“The situation is expected to remain unstable in the coming months, which will further weaken the country’s economy…”

– United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Those issues are expected to contribute to a rise in the number of food insecure to 4.2 million by March 2020, the OCHA said, a figure which will include 1.2 million people experiencing “emergency levels of food insecurity.”

“The situation is expected to remain unstable in the coming months, which will further weaken the country’s economy and, consequently, the ability of the poorest Haitians to meet their basic needs as well as the capacity of the State to provide essential services.”

Social tensions in the country have affected humanitarian efforts.

Some 455,000 Haitians received aid through the UN and its partners in the first nine months of the year but this was insufficient as the Haiti Humanitarian Response Plan for the year was only 32 per cent funded, the OCHA said. This rate was one of the lowest in the world and prevented many people in need from getting assistance.

Next year, some US$252.5 will be sought by the UN and partners to provide for 2.1 million Haitians in need.

An estimated forty per cent of the Haitian population, some 4.6 million people, will need urgent humanitarian assistance come 2020.