Another deadly crossing calls attention to Haitis plight

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 14, 2009) —A capsized boat, an urgent Coast Guard response and bodies gently transported to a temporary morgue set up on a South Florida beach on Wednesday were more reminders of the increasingly desperate situation in Haiti.

“Our hearts go out to the Haitian community in South Florida, and to the good people of Haiti,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. The international relief and development agency has worked in Haiti for 24 years, and knows well the dire situation that drives Haitians to climb aboard small and overloaded boats and to try and make it to the United States.

“It is increasingly imperative that we do everything we can to make sure that people have food, that they have clean water, that they have some hope of providing an income for their families in Haiti,” Aloma said. “If we fail, people will continue to feel forced to leave their beloved homeland in search of a better life.”

The majority of Haitians are worse off today than they were this time last year, Aloma said, and without immediate action thousands of malnourished Haitians may die.

“From the global food crisis to the storms, the floods, the decimation of crops, and now a global recession, Haiti continues to suffer terribly,” Aloma said. “Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti keeps getting beaten back.”

The average family in Haiti lives on less than $2 a day. In April 2008, the global food crisis sent prices for staple foods soaring in Haiti, leaving many with nothing to eat. Months later, the tiny nation was devastated by four storms that caused extensive mudslides and widespread flooding, killed hundreds of people, and left tens of thousands homeless. The storms wiped out the nation’s meager crops and severely damaged Haiti’s antiquated infrastructure. Just as Haiti was beginning to recover from the damaging storms, the recession has cut into charitable donations to the country.

“We must not fail Haiti. We’re not giving up hope,” Aloma says. “One day at a time, one village at a time, one family at a time, we’re not giving up – we’re not losing hope.”

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States, serves the poor of the Caribbean, Latin America and the U.S. Food For The Poor provides food, emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, basic housing, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. More than 97 percent of all donations received in 2008 went toward programs that help the poor. For more information, visit www.foodforthepoor.org.

Contact:
Kathy Skipper
(954) 427-2222 x 6614
kathys@foodforthepoor.org