US Government Scales Up Response to Drought in Haiti

Nearly $22 Million in Emergency Relief

Port-au-Prince. April 15, 2016

The US Embassy announced more funding for the ongoing needs of Haitian households suffering from the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, bringing US contributions to $21.9 million USD over the last six months.

US Ambassador Peter Mulrean reiterated that: “The US stands steadfast with Haitian families to provide for their emergency food, nutrition, and water needs. We also continue to work to strengthen Haiti’s future capacity to prepare for and withstand shocks, including by boosting agricultural production and closing food gaps for those most vulnerable to weather, political and price shocks.”

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) began working to mitigate the risks of drought-induced hunger and malnutrition in October 2015. To date the U.S Government has provided $21.9 Million USD to address emergency needs for food, nutrition, and water in all the drought-affected departments of the country: North-East, Artibonite, Centre, West, and South-East.  This includes

  • $7.4 million to the World Food Program (WFP) for cash and food transfers to 100,000, and $1.2 million to UNICEF to treat 37,800 children who could be diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition.
  • Emergency food aid funding of $11.8 million to partners CARE, Accion Contre la Faim, and World Vision aims support at over 135,000 people, additional to the 102,000 already served by the USAID and Government Kore Lavi social safety net program, through which participants receive cash for assets, cash for work, and food vouchers to purchase locally sourced, nutritious food.
  • For water, sanitation, and hygiene, $1.3 million is increasing clean water supply and sanitation in the South-East department, one of the hardest hit by drought, migration from the DR, and recent cholera outbreaks.  This sum includes: $900,000 to Solidarités International, $250,000 to UNICEF, and $160,000 to International Organization for Migration (IOM).
  • Finally, the US contributed $200,000 to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) for drought, migration, and cholera response coordination across and among all organizations and the government.

Food Security Situation

Haiti is experiencing one of the worst droughts in 35 years, made worse by the El Niño event. According to the Famine Early Systems Network (FEWS NET), supported by USAID globally, severe dryness due to the 2015 El Niño resulted in national crop production that was less than 50 percent of the five-year average, while local food prices remain above average. From now through June-July 2016, communes in Sud-Est, Ouest, Nord-Ouest, upper Artibonite, Centre, Nord-Est Departments and on the Southern Peninsula will remain in Crisis (IPC level 3) food insecurity,(signifying that households may suffer high or above usual acute malnutrition or deplete their livelihood assets to meet minimum food needs).

Haiti imports approximately 50 percent of its food and, with half of population living on less than $1.25 per day and three quarters of the population living on less than $2 per day, it is extremely vulnerable to the cost of food and price spikes in the global food market. In addition, the current drought and election crisis have negatively impacted the Haitian economy; the Haitian gourde has been steadily depreciating since June 2015.

Driven by crop losses and reduced farm labor opportunities, FEWS NET reports that many poor households are becoming increasingly reliant on non-agricultural income sources including petty-trade, labor migration, remittances and other more severe coping measures, such as charcoal production.