Nine Shocking and Alarming Facts About Hunger in Haiti

Hunger in Haiti acts as one of the country’s largest ongoing problems. With two and a half million Haitians living in extreme poverty, Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere.

Though partly due to the series of severe natural disasters over the last two decades, the nation’s humanitarian and developmental challenges stem from numerous factors.

    1. The country faces its worst food insecurity crisis since 2001.
      The United Nations World Food Program appeals for $84 million to alleviate hunger in Haiti and the country’s increased suffering state. The organization hopes to aid one million Haitians battle extreme malnutrition and high death tolls.
    2. Two out of three Haitians live on less than $2 per day.
      Half of the population earns less than $1 per day. Many people lack access to electricity, water, sanitation and/or healthcare. With this level of extreme poverty, Haiti is in dire need of assistance to improve living conditions.
    3. Fifty percent of urban Haitians are unemployed.
      This statistic can serve as a stark contrast to urban America, where the unemployment rate is 4.7%, as of 2015. That’s 45.3% more of the Haitian population who are unable to provide for themselves and their families.
    4. Climate change is a growing issue that threatens over 500,000 Haitians every year.
      Global shifts in atmospheric conditions and weather patterns caused by human-induced climate change and increased carbon emissions leave a lasting negative impact on poor farmers and production.
    5. Although agriculture provides 50% of jobs in the country and accounts for 25% of GDP, this profession does not contribute to improving hunger rates in Haiti. 
      The country fails to produce enough food and imports 80% of its main staple, rice.
    6. Drought has had detrimental effects on the Haiti population.
      With only 10% of crops irrigated, 90% of farmers depend on rain for their harvest. Lack of rainfall and the rising cost of basic necessities act as the main reasons for the scarcity of local products on the domestic market.
    7. One hundred thousand children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, while one in three children’s growth is stunted.
      The World Food Programme’s operations in Haiti work to end chronic malnutrition by providing nutritional meals to kids in schools and delivering supplementary food rations.
    8. A large portion of the Haitian population lacks access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
      Forty percent of the people in Haiti lack access to clean water and only one in five can access a sanitary toilet. Unfortunately, few water treatment facilities are properly functioning for the general public in the country. Soil erosion and deforestation also heavily contributed to diminished water quality.
    9. One-third of Haitian women and children are anemic.
      A result of poverty, the average Haitian child’s diet lacks many and most nutrients, including iron. The iron level in Haiti is also low because of intestinal blood loss due to worms and parasites.

The people of Haiti face a multitude of problems, and struggle to sustain a full, healthy life. Luckily, organizations like WFP, the Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs, the Food and Agriculture Organization and UNICEF work to end poverty and hunger in Haiti and help these communities rebuild their shattered lives.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr