Haiti Must Not Sink Into The Abyss, Again
Since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to depart, two months ago, the humanitarian situation in Haiti has been precarious at best. Action Against Hunger warns that it is absolutely essential to provide long-term humanitarian aid to the Haitian population.
The island nation of Haiti is not front-page news at present, but there is a hidden crisis that is affecting most of the population and has been for many years. Moreover, this crisis is far from being resolved following President Aristide's departure, and introduction of international peacekeeping forces. The situation is much worse than before President Aristide's resignation.
Emergency intervention is needed
Following Haiti's severe political crisis earlier this year the international community and certain private fund providers temporarily offered support. Thanks to the assistance of these private donors as well as contributors such as the European Union, the Canadian government and the British government, Action Against Hunger has been able to intervene on an emergency basis:
- Gonaives: In April Action Against Hunger launched a program of 10 canteens aimed at preventing acute malnutrition through distribution of gruel to 10,000 children.
- Port de Paix: in the North of the country, Action Against Hunger supplied potable water to the local population via containers. We are also rehabilitating the water distribution networks.
However, above all, support for humanitarian action in Haiti must be maintained long term across the board and not just ad hoc.
The people of Haiti need much more than a temporary show of interest. The country is simply lacking in everything: basic healthcare, education, urban infrastructure etc. The country's bitter civil war left its mark even before this year's presidential crisis. In order to address long term needs Action Against Hunger is conducting food surveys in the country in order to understand and address chronic malnutrition. Action Against Hunger is also running programs that are aimed to rehabilitate hydraulic networks in the North of the country. Action Against Hunger is implementing many programs to assist the Haitian people in the short term. But the aim must be set on the long term.
The stabilization of Haiti's political institutions is obviously critical, but the point is that it will only be possible to bring Haiti closer to autonomy if the international community and the private donors continue to extend their vital cooperation for long term humanitarian needs and assistance...
A general mobilization is required in order to prevent Haiti from sinking again into the abyss.
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Facts about Hunger
925 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Malnutrition affects 32.5% of children in developing countries.
1 out of every 6 infants are born with low birth weight due to undernutrition among pregnant women in developing countries.
1 out of every 3 people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Hunger is number one on the list of the world's top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.