Haiti faces humanitarian crisis as UN WFP announces deep cuts in emergency assistance

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The UN World Food Program on Monday announced deep cuts to emergency food assistance in Haiti that will see some 100,000 people go without aid this month, a move a top official called ‘heartbreaking.’

Halfway through the year, the organization’s response plan in Haiti is only 16 percent funded, the agency said, and the cuts amount to a 25 percent reduction compared to June.

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“These cuts could not come at a worse time, as Haitians face a multi-layered humanitarian crisis, their lives and livelihoods upended by violence, insecurity, economic turmoil and climate shocks,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP country director for the Caribbean nation.

He added: “Unless we receive immediate funding, further devastating cuts cannot be ruled out.”

In the first six months of 2023, the WFP provided food or cash aid to some 1.5 million people, including school lunches for 450,000 children -- a program now at risk of huge cuts.

“Without an injection of funds, nearly half of these children will no longer have access to school meals when they return to class after the summer break,” the agency said.

The WFP estimates it requires $121 million through the end of the year in Haiti.

“It is heartbreaking. Haiti is a country that has suffered so much,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General. “And has been so forgotten, despite the fact that it is so close to so much wealth.”

According to the UN, just under half the Haitian population -- about 5.2 million people -- are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, including 3 million children.

That fragile situation has been further exacerbated by a relentless political crisis compounded by the government’s loss of control of territory to armed gangs.

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