Baptist Haiti Mission
Serving the Whole Person
Wallace & Eleanor
523 Sundilla Court
Auburn, AL 36830 email@example.com
1 502 491 7000
Baptist Haiti Mission
602 Wellington Ave.
Wallaceburg,ON NBA 4L5
Dear Friend, Auburn, Alabama, August 28, 2015
This Google Alert news item just received is very alarming. In the famine of 1958, we lost 92 people from the congregation of the Atrel church alone. Thousands uncounted perished. We wonder how many of the 65,000 pupils in our schools will die unless we find help.
“Severe drought in Haiti has led to acute water shortages, shrivelled harvests, and raised food prices, weakening the fragile food supply and worsening hunger among the poor, the UN World Food Program said. Haiti already struggles to feed its population of 10.4 million, and 600 000 Haitians already rely on international food aid to survive, the WFP says. (The only popular food aid that we know of is used to jump start new state schools. WT)
“Thirty percent of the population is moving into food insecurity. That means families are having reduced ability to purchase food and have had to reduce their calorie intake. Families are now having fewer and smaller meals,” said Wendy Bigham, WFP’s deputy country director in Haiti. (This avoids declaring a killing famine, a cultural feel of shame.WT) Poor harvests caused by low rainfall have also meant fewer jobs in the agricultural sector, which provides around 50% of all jobs in Haiti, putting more pressure on families.
The drought, linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon, has gripped other parts of the Caribbean and Central America as well as Haiti, and is expected to last until early next year. “This is the third year in a row with below average rainfall. The drought is especially severe this year and all departments across Haiti are affected,” Bigham told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.By February next year, it is likely that “at least one in five households in Haiti will face significant food consumption gaps with high or above usual acute malnutrition,” according to an August report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), run by the US Agency for International Development(USAID).
Half of Haiti’s population live on less than $1 a day and many Haitians spend the bulk of their income on food. Even a slight increase in food prices can make hundreds of thousands of Haitians too poor to buy enough food. The depreciation of the Haitian gourde has contributed to the rise in the price of staple foods such as rice, maize and beans. Prices have shot up “by as much as 60%” since April, Bigham said.
“If El Nino continues and we don’t have a good next harvest at around the end of this year, then the situation will quickly deteriorate and we will see many families falling into a (food) crisis situation. The outlook isn’t good,” said Bigham. (That’s official language to skirt around saying that famine threatens. WT)
In June, the government asked the international aid community to help in drought-hit areas, including cash-for-work schemes to inject money into the local economy, sending in water tanks and drilling new water wells. “It’s quite serious when the government needs to call the international community to come in,” said Bigham. The drought has also affected school meals, which make up the country’s largest food safety net, provided mainly by the WFP which feeds around 500 000 children a year in state schools. In May and June, WFP school meals could not be provided in around 20% of those schools in Haiti’s southeast and northeast provinces ‘because of a lack of clean water to cook meals in’”. (What explanation is this ? Boiling kills germs. WT)
Please pray with us that we’ll find help. In Christ’s service,