Haiti drought: People need food, says official

A drought is causing an extreme emergency in north-east Haiti, wiping out sorely needed crops and livestock, an official said on Tuesday.

Pierre Gary Mathieu of the government's National Co-ordination of Food Security told the Associated Press that the eight-month-long drought in the region has caused the loss of two harvest seasons. It will take the area six months to recover.

"That's a major problem," Mathieu said.

The hardship is especially evident in some schools where there's food for students but no water to cook. Other schools have neither food nor water, Mathieu said.

The usually arid area has seen some rain lately but not enough to replenish crops.

Government employees and aid workers plan to distribute seeds to farmers and food to others. Officials are due to meet this Thursday with international humanitarian workers to figure out how to co-ordinate a response, Mathieu said.

Worrisome conditions for Haiti
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, a US-government financed programme that tracks weather patterns, agricultural production and food prices in an effort to offset famine, describes worrisome conditions for Haiti's north-east.

Until last November, rainfall was evenly distributed in most of the country's crop-producing areas during production cycles. But a second rainy season that normally begins in August didn't begin until two to three weeks later, and north-eastern Haiti received very little of that rainfall.

"People need jobs immediately but they also need food," Mathieu said.

The drought has also extended to other parts of the north, especially along the north-western peninsula, FEWS NET reports. Farmers have had to travel farther to find drinking water.

The United Nations's World Food Programme (WFP) will send food rations this week for up to 120 000 people in the northwest, said WFP spokesperson Alejandro Lopez-Chicheri. The kits consist of rice, beans and cooking oil. – Sapa-AP

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Trenton Daniel
Trenton Daniel works from New York, NY. Associated Press journalist. Former @AP Haiti correspondent. Longtime @MiamiHerald staff writer before that. Trenton Daniel has over 5705 followers on Twitter.

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories