Desperate Families Found in Cave in Haiti, Months after Hurricane: Food For The Poor Launches Campaign to Provide Immediate Aid, Build Homes

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 23, 2017)  A humanitarian crisis was revealed on Wednesday in Haiti as 240 people, including 84 women and 62 children, were found living in a cave by a Food For The Poor team in the rugged mountains near Fonds Rouge Dahere, where they have been since Hurricane Matthew hit the country's southern peninsula in October.

The charity's agricultural director discovered the group while scouting for land to meet the hunger needs of families in the Grand'Anse region of southwest Haiti.

Even in their desperate condition, parents and children were heard singing hymns.

Food For The Poor is launching a campaign to help them immediately with lifesaving aid and to build homes.

Trucks from the charity's warehouse in Port-au-Prince are delivering goods to the families today. Initial relief includes food, blankets, hygiene kits, kerosene stoves and tarps.

"They have no food, they have no water, they have no shelter. They are sleeping on the ground in a cave. It really is a crime against humanity," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "We are working on the next steps to bring them out of these horrible conditions."

Last fall, the New York Times reported more than 500 people were found taking refuge in caves near Lacadonie in southwest Haiti after Hurricane Matthew scoured the area with 145-mph winds last October, destroying their homes.

Despite the deplorable conditions, darkness and humidity, the people said they were thankful for the caves because they were the only shelter they had. "It is our house that God created when we most needed it," one of the hundreds of villagers told the New York Times.

Those families have since moved on and those caves are now empty.

This latest crisis comes on the heels of a severe food shortage in the Grand'Anse region.

Last week, Food For The Poor announced it was sending an additional 100 containers of food a month for the next four months to keep people from starving in the area.

A food shortage in Grand'Anse is so bad that families are turning in desperation to fruits and foliage known to be poisonous in an attempt to quell their hunger and save their lives.

At least 13 people have died over the span of 10 days, including seven in Pestel, four in Cahouane and two in Castaches. More than 400,000 people are said to be at risk due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Stock animals were killed and crops were destroyed once by the storm, and again later by drought after having been replanted.

Food For The Poor has teams in the field today and will provide updates when they become available.

"With so much happening in the world today it's easy to forget about the crisis in Haiti. Closing our eyes to the situation will not make the problem go away. The people displaced by Hurricane Matthew are in desperate need of assistance and they need housing," Mahfood said. "We need your support to renew and transform the lives of these families."

Food For The Poor is trying to build as many homes as it can for these destitute families.

To help build a double-unit concrete home with two bedrooms, a shower, a flush toilet and a solar kit light for $7,200, or a single-unit home for $3,600, please go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/haitiemergency.

Watch a video of parents and children singing in the cave near Fonds Rouge Dahere: www.FoodForThePoor.org/haiticave.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com