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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2011: Haiti

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2011: Haiti
Nov 2010

The overall humanitarian situation in Haiti remains extremely fragile. The 12 January earthquake severely damaged all public infrastructure and displaced around 2.1 million people.

Many are still in serious need of humanitarian assistance with 1.3 million residing in camps and 600 000 living with host families, who were already living below the poverty line before the earthquake.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, households suffered considerable asset loss and increased food insecurity. Humanitarian efforts concentrated on providing life-saving emergency aid and addressing Haiti’s immediate needs. Despite these efforts, chronic food insecurity continues to remain an issue throughout the country.

It is therefore imperative to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the earthquake-affected people and to support the Government of Haiti in rebuilding infrastructure and implementing durable solutions in order to expedite the release of humanitarian aid in a timely manner.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Despite the generous humanitarian response, the agriculture sector remains a concern. Damages in this sector are mostly related to the loss of housing, livestock, seed reserves, tools, irrigation and storage facilities. Many families migrated towards rural areas and the consequences of these long stays have contributed to the depletion of local resources and an increased pressure on food security.

In the agricultural season immediately after the disaster, farmers sowed less seeds than normal, and a drop of 15.9 percent across crops and regions was observed. Some departments have suffered poor harvests while others lost part of their crops due to natural hazards. Households’ economic activities are resuming but are still not reaching pre-earthquake levels. Families have been coping with migration, asset loss and increased food prices especially from January to March 2010. All those elements highlight the need for more external support to stabilize food security among rural populations and to rebuild household seed stocks.

Endemic infections and outbreaks of contagious diseases compounded by the collapse of infrastructure and the lack of adequate veterinary services have resulted in a total breakdown of livestock production. The protection of livestock assets is therefore essential and emergency interventions aimed at reducing livestock losses will play an important role in saving livelihoods and building resilience.

FAO response

FAO’s overall objective is to continue to reduce the food insecurity caused by the 12 January earthquake with a particular focus on vulnerable groups, such as displaced populations and host communities in rural areas, womenheaded households, and households with chronically ill and handicapped members.

In 2011, FAO’s main activities will include strengthening income-generation capacity, supporting agricultural production and reinforcing the capacity of vulnerable rural communities to prepare for, withstand and recover from crises.

The interventions aim to support food production in collaboration with local partners and farmers’ associations. The distribution of agricultural input packages will facilitate the return, reintegration and resettlement of displaced persons.

In addition, FAO plans to improve food availability which will reduce the risk of long-term food aid dependency, in turn contributing to lower food prices in local markets, thus improving access to food for low-income families and newly vulnerable earthquake-affected households.