"The situation was already very worrying in Haiti, but it has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic," WFP said.
More than four million Haitians, almost a third of the island's population, are in need of emergency food assistance, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned Friday, highlighting that the COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation.
"The situation was already very worrying in Haiti, but it has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the closure of ports and airports, as well as schools where many children used to receive their main food supply,” WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in a press conference.
Byrs recalled that Haitian President Jovenel Moise declared a state of food emergency last week and that prices of basic goods have risen more than 30 percent in the country.
Poor economic and security conditions, compounded by climate shocks and the long-term impact of natural disasters, have exacerbated food insecurity in Haiti, according to the WFP.
Vulnerable households in rural areas lack work opportunities due to the high cost of labor and the limited resources of farmers. This, combined with high food prices, has forced communities to resort to negative coping strategies, including migration.
The coronavirus crisis is likely to aggravate an extremely fragile political and socio-economic situation. The United States-backed and widely despised government had closed Haiti’s border, ports, and airports to the movement of people last month.
Since then, only a small number of tests have been administered, and there are rising fears that a health catastrophe will unfold over the coming months.
Haiti had 74 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday. There were six deaths attributed to the illness in the country of 11 million people.