Affected by Hurricane Jane, Gonaives is Emerging From Mud, but Situation Remains Tense

Major Humanitarian Effort in Gonaives, Haiti

Limited access to food and sanitation in Gonaives, Haiti, will increase risks to the population during the coming weeks, according to Action Against Hunger/Action Contre la Faim (ACF), the non-governmental, non-religious, non-profit international organization that aids more than 5 million beneficiaries a year around the world. In order to prevent the malnutrition of children, the primary victims, ACF will establish more than 15 feeding stations in devastated neighbourhoods of Gonaives during the first few days of December. This will ensure that every day for four months, 9,000 children five years of age and younger will receive adequate nourishment.

At the same time, ACF will also take action to return the local economy to self-sufficiency by distributing fishing nets or seeds and tools, and rehabilitating small agricultural infrastructures (such as irrigation systems) and saltworks.

Pierre Gallien, who is responsible for Action Against Hunger's programs in Haiti, analyses the situation:

"Extremely affected by Hurricane Jane, the city of Gonaives is emerging from the mud, but the situation remains tense. Gonaives residents who deserted the city in great number are returning, worsening the pressure on food supplies and the local economy. Surrounding areas, also severely affected by the hurricane, have not yet returned to normal either. Part of the agricultural production was destroyed. Also, the next cultivating season will soon begin, but the population lacks seeds and tools. Other income-generating activities such as fishing and saltworks were equally affected, leaving people without means of subsistence."

"Disappointment among Haitians is high because of the administration's broken promises and the fading prospect of elections in 2005. However, with the beginning of political dialogue and a more visible governmental presence, Haitians hope to improve their condition. Meanwhile, unfortunately, security remains unstable, which makes the humanitarian worker's job more difficult."

Action Against Hunger in Haiti

Present in Haiti since 1982, Action Against Hunger has concentrated on supplying drinking water and nutrition surveillance. Emergency programs are also now in place to provide for such necessities as food, water and sanitation.