News Alert: Dire Economic and Food Crisis Grips Haiti, Women Most at Risk

New household survey by Mercy Corps shows nearly 98% of families are grappling with severe hunger

A recent survey conducted by Mercy Corps reveals an alarming scenario of economic distress and worsening food insecurity in Haiti. Out of 2,664 households surveyed in Croix-des-Bouquets and Delmas, two urban areas near the capital Port-au-Prince, a staggering 97.45% are grappling with severe hunger, with women bearing the brunt of this crisis. Nearly 66% of female-led households are unable to provide sustenance for their families, a stark contrast to the 31.91% of male-headed households facing similar challenges.

Half of households surveyed are struggling to put food on the table due to a lack of any income-generating activities, and 75% of those who do have an income stream find it immensely difficult to make ends meet on a monthly income of less than 10,000 Gourdes (US$ 74). This income desert is exacerbated by inflation, climate shocks, the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine, and growing social instability. As a consequence, the average price to feed a family of five for a month with six essential items (rice, wheat flour, maize, beans, sugar, and vegetables) has surged to 27,850 Gourdes (US$ 200), a 74% increase since 2022.

5.2 million people, nearly half of the population, need humanitarian assistance, including almost 3 million children. According to UNICEF, one child in four now suffers from chronic malnutrition and in 2023, 115,600 children are projected to grapple with the most severe form of undernutrition. At the same time, shooting and kidnapping rates are spiking. According to the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), gangs are responsible for the deaths of over 2,000 people between January and June 2023, surging nearly 125 percent compared to the same period in 2022, and have kidnapped 1,014 people.

Johan Lefebvre Chevallier, Mercy Corps Country Director for Haiti, says:

"The conditions on the streets of Port-au-Prince and other urban areas have become untenable. Gangs control a significant portion of the capital and continue expanding their presence elsewhere in the country in the midst of a complete security vacuum.

"The surge in violence, kidnappings, rampant looting, persistent road blockades, and the unmatched power of gangs are creating formidable obstacles to organizations trying to provide lifesaving humanitarian aid. Criminal activity, combined with limited livelihood opportunities, climate shocks, and ongoing volatility in food and fuel prices and availability, have exacerbated an already dire hunger crisis.

“Our Mercy Corps team members demonstrate unwavering commitment each and every day to support their fellow Haitians despite these obstacles. Some have even lost their homes and are living in hiding due to the dangers they face daily in their neighborhoods.” 

Mercy Corps is providing emergency cash assistance to 32,500 people and more than 700 small businesses in three departments, including Port-au-Prince. Since 2019, Mercy Corps has been working to reduce violence and help young people pursue opportunities through financial inclusion and life skills training for more than 8,000 adolescents.

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