[Port-au-Prince] – Flaure Erna ALCY, a 27-year old mother of three small kids living near Coteaux in Southern Haiti, was getting desperate as her husband became handicapped and unable to work after a motorcycle accident. As an entrepreneur, her small food supply business was failing, and she had no money to feed her kids or pay her husband’s medical bills. Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) humanitarian assistance programs help people like Flaure and Haitian communities experiencing severe food insecurity or recovering from natural disasters.
Since April 30, 2020, USAID has awarded $15 million to the UN World Food Programme to assist Haitian households facing high levels of food insecurity. In preparation for Haiti’s hurricane season, reserves of food aid are available to provide one month food ration assistance to approximately 300,000 people in the event of a natural disaster. From March 2020 – June 2020, in the Grand Anse, Nippes, West and Artibonite departments, the UN World Food Programme completed food distributions to approximately 121,610 individuals. Each household received 50kg of rice, 12.5kg of beans and 9.2 pounds of cooking oil for a total of approximately 2,730 MT.
“U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Michele Sison, stated: “USAID and the U.S. Government’s commitment to ensuring food security in Haiti continues to help the most vulnerable. USAID, working with the UN and other partners, not only improves food security for women and children in Haiti, but also helps female entrepreneurs achieve long-term sustainable success. The American people and USAID are working to support the Haitian people to respond to current and future needs.”
Flaure enrolled in USAID’s “Nou Se Wozo” food security program implemented by Catholic Relief Services in six communes in the South of Haiti. She receives food vouchers to purchase food items like rice, legumes and oil with program merchants, and cash transfers allowing her to replenish her inventory and resume business. Flaure also enrolled in the community savings group supported by the project, which she hopes to take out a loan to further grow her business. Flaure recalls the project’s slogan and says: “This project makes us stronger…we bend, but we bounce back.”
While food assistance addresses immediate needs, “During COVID-19 we continue to not only improve nutritious food consumption to over 60,000 Haitian households but also strengthen incomes for families like Mrs. Flaure,” says USAID Haiti Mission Director, Christopher Cushing.
USAID partners World Food Programme, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision have consistently reinforced hand washing at all distribution sites and limited distributions to small group sizes to help prevent the potential spread of the disease. They also posted Ministry of Health COVID-19 information at all sites in Creole.
For more information on USAID’s work in Haiti, please visit: www.usaid.gov/haiti