Food For The Poor Fights Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2022) – In the face of a humanitarian crisis and as families struggle with dwindling supplies in Haiti, Food For The Poor continues to distribute aid to people in desperate need of food, water and basic items to survive.
For months, most of the Caribbean nation has been paralyzed by civil unrest, soaring gang violence and a lack of fuel. Nearly half the population faces acute hunger. And now an outbreak of cholera threatens to take hold.
Mario Nicoleau, Executive Director of FFTP-Haiti, said many people in the capital of Port-au-Prince have gone three days without food, due to the inability to get around.
Even people with money don’t have access to food or purified water.
“It’s a situation which is untenable and can only get worse but for how much longer, nobody knows,” Nicoleau said during a visit last week to FFTP’s Coconut Creek headquarters.
“There’s a real sense of lost hope, of what’s going to happen because no one has seen this before,” he said. “It’s not a regular situation for Haitians. People are trying to manage but not knowing what to try to manage for.”
FFTP has distributed aid during “windows of opportunity” when protests subside. Nicoleau noted how the charity turned to 60 parishes one weekend to distribute 11,000 bags of rice, beans and other critically needed items to families in need.
On a recent Saturday, FFTP-Haiti opened its doors to safely distribute rice, beans, MannaPack rice meals, water purification tablets, hygiene and baby items to more than 500 pregnant women and nursing mothers from the Centre de Récupération Nutritionnelle.
The charity also airfreighted five pallets containing 72,000 packets of Liquid I.V. oral hydration powder to Haiti to combat a growing number of cholera cases. Distribution of those supplies to cholera treatment centers began last week.
The distributions were remarkable because FFTP-Haiti’s office had been closed most days, out of concern for the safety of employees with streets barricaded with burning tires and blocked by armed gangs and fuel largely unavailable.
On Friday, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration said the violence has forced 96,000 people to flee their homes in Haiti.
On some days, Nicoleau said FFTP team members in Haiti have put their personal safety at risk to maneuver past as many as 14 barricades to get to work.
“They understand it a little bit more the daily life of the beneficiaries they are saving,” Nicoleau said. “Even though they are getting paid and have access to money, there’s no access to food.”
Nicoleau, who grew up in Haiti, puts the current situation in stark terms. “If we don’t go to work, people die. Period. Under regular circumstances,” Nicoleau said. “Now we have cholera, which is now new. Fortunately, because there is no fuel, there is no public transportation, people are not moving around as much. Cholera has been limited. But if things were normal, imagine what the situation would be.”
At least 40 deaths from more than 1,700 suspected cholera cases have been reported, although health officials believe the number is much higher, according to news reports.
Raine said the recent efforts of FFTP-Haiti are a testament to the resilience of the team and the Haitian people.
“We pray that in the upcoming weeks that there is some kind of progress so we’re able to do the very large-scale support that we know is needed,” Raine said. “The humanitarian crisis is there right now. We will not forget the people of Haiti.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.