Urgent Food Crisis in Haiti Poses Threat to Poor: Crops Destroyed by Hurricane Matthew and Again by Drought After Replanting

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 16, 2017) A food shortage in the Grand'Anse region of southwest Haiti 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, Food For The Poor has learned.

At least 13 people already have died, including two from suicide on Wednesday, and more than 400,000 people are said to be at risk due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew that scoured that area with 145-mph winds last October. 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 been sending tractor-trailer loads of food to the area since the storm, but now is doubling its efforts and rushing food aid to malnourished and starving residents of Jeremie, Pestel and other cities in the Grand'Anse region.

The charity also is helping to replant crops. But even with replanting, mature crops will be four months away. Haiti needs help to survive until summer harvest.

Relief goods are positioned now in Haiti to help ease the crisis, including 10 containers of rice; seven containers of beans; two containers each of canned beans, canned meat and corn meal; one container of agricultural tools, including forks, machetes and files, shovels, axes and hoes; and one container each of canned corn and evaporated milk.

Food For The Poor also plans to send an additional 100 containers of food a month, including rice, beans and canned food, for the next four months to keep people from starving until the harvest arrives. To meet those demands and help desperate families, there is an urgent call for help.

"The situation in Haiti is serious. The people of Haiti need help, and they needed it yesterday," said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor's President/CEO. "We have shipped supplies, and we will send more but these people need everybody's help."

Staff of Food For The Poor-Haiti are asking for rice, beans, canned food, canned protein such as fish, meat and milk, and vitamins.

They also need more seeds, agricultural tools, tillers and water pumps so that crops can be replanted.

"Please do everything you can do to help because Grand'Anse is the heart of Haiti's food production," said Jean-Claude Fignole, a member of Food For The Poor-Haiti's board who spoke with Mahfood by phone this week.

To help with the food crisis in Haiti, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/crisisinhaiti.

For months, compassionate donors have answered Food For The Poor's call to help Haiti's poor who were left homeless or gone without food or clean water in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Shortly after the storm, the charity set an aggressive goal to build 1,000 housing units in 100 days to give people hope and move them quickly into sturdy shelter. Thanks to our generous donors, the charity's teams in Haiti were able to build 1,086 housing units in 114 days.

In addition to building the new homes, Food For The Poor teams in Haiti have repaired 411 homes; installed six water filtration units, providing safe, clean water to tens of thousands of people; repaired 11 fishing village gear sheds and rebuilt five new gear sheds; and repaired three schools and three community centers.

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