Christian agency warns of instability in Haiti as food prices rise

By staff writers
April 23, 2008

Recent riots in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which left five people dead and hundreds injured, stemmed from several months of increasing food insecurity in the country says Christian agency World Vision.

The agency is providing relief to hungry children and families affected by the crisis and is preparing to increase its response.

Rising global prices for food and fuel have hammered Haiti, which survives largely on imported goods. Food is unaffordable to many families in a place where the unemployment rate is high and most residents earn less than $2 a day.

To make matters worse, severe weather last year, including Tropical Storm Noel in October, wiped out livestock and crops across the country just before harvest time and the start of the dry season.

This caused severe shortages of locally produced food. Shortages are expected to continue even if there is good weather for the next planting season, scheduled to begin this month, because farmers lack seeds to produce another harvest in June.

World Vision staff warn of severe consequences arising from the current food crisis, including increased child mortality, lawlessness and political instability.

Yesterday, a £455 million aid package to address rising global food prices was announced by Douglas Alexander, International Development Secretary.

The package is designed to address both short term needs and long term solutions and includes $60 million (£30 million) in support of recent appeals by the World Food Programme for countries most at risk.

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