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A large part of the Haitian population is extremely poor and vulnerable. This relates to a context of economic fragility and socio-political tensions. This comes on top of a number of other shocks, such as natural disasters, epidemics and population group movements. It had been anticipated as early as October 2019 that, between March and July 2020, 4.1 million people would be dealing with extreme food insecurity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse. The measures for combatting the spread of the disease are hampering the availability of food. Farmers are not able to produce or sell as much, which squeezes their income.
Furthermore, Haiti is located in a zone where more and more cyclones are occurring. The country can expect a new cyclone between June and November.
Belgium is donating €476,000 to help 1,000 vulnerable families. This is taking place via SFERA, an emergency fund from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In 60% of these families, a woman is head of the household.
Selected families will gain access to vegetable seeds and farming equipment, alongside technical support with growing and selling vegetables. They will also receive an unconditional 85 euros, enough to buy food for a month.
The project also provides support for 800 families who may be hit by a potential cyclone. Should there be no cyclone this year, the money will be spent on other vulnerable families.
The FAO will make use of the opportunity to raise awareness among the beneficiaries of the measures for combatting the spread of COVID-19, including through collaboration with community radio stations in the countryside. Data will also be collected on the impact of COVID-19 on food security.