Almost five million at risk of famine as hurricane season approaches

ALMOST five million people in Haiti, half of them children, face the imminent threat of famine as an extraordinarily active hurricane season approaches the already vulnerable country dealing with ongoing violence, warns international humanitarian organization, World Vision.  

Latin America and the Caribbean are less than two weeks away from an unusually active hurricane season, predicted to be hit with 23 named storms, and out of those, 11 potential hurricanes during the period that stretches from June until November. Climate disruptions, exacerbated by La Niña and extremely warm temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, could severely affect Haiti, an already climate-vulnerable country. 

The predicted impacts of the hurricane season, which include landslides, floods and increased erosion of intensely deforested lands, threaten almost 5 million people in Haiti who are already experiencing acute food malnutrition. Out of those, 1,64 million are facing emergency (phase 4) food insecurity, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 

Lesly Michaud, Country Program Director for World Vision in Haiti urged:

“Our efforts are focused on developing livelihoods adapted to climate disruptions. However, the extent of deforestation and poverty in Haiti exceeds our capacities. We urgently need financial assistance to prevent a famine disaster in a country whose supply chain is severely disrupted due to violence in the capital city. We must act quickly.” 

The escalating violence in Port-au-Prince has also led to six out of ten hospitals operating at limited capacity, depriving vulnerable children of essential medical care. Haiti has reported 82,000 cases of cholera between October 2022.

The ongoing gang-led chaos in the capital has severely hindered the acquisition and maintenance of critical medical supplies. Although international and domestic cargo flights and the main seaport have recently resumed operations, their capacity remains limited and backlogged, further straining the country’s supply chain. 

An estimated 400,000 people have been forcibly displaced due to persistent violence, significantly restricting their access to food, water, and medicines. As the hurricane season looms, the risk of famine for children and their families is dramatically heightened. 

World Vision is working in several rural areas to develop sustainable livelihoods, including the development of community gardens and climate-adapted crops, to ensure food for children. Water wells and sanitation services are also being provided to protect the lives and health of children. In other communities, the INGO is distributing food baskets and cash vouchers to displaced families.