Food agency warns that more than a million people are on the brink of chronic hunger

Haiti on brink of famine

Un grupo de desplazados alojados en una escuela del centro de Puerto Príncipe - © OIM/Antoine Lemonnier
A group of displaced persons staying in a school in downtown Port-au-Prince - © IOM/Antoine Lemonnier

The World Food Programme (WFP) warned Tuesday that Haiti is on the brink of a devastating crisis, with 1.4 million people one step away from famine and the risk of humanitarian operations grinding to a halt as rampant insecurity limits access to communities and donor funding dries up.

  1. Displacement on the rise 
  2. Running out of resources 
  3. Transitional agreement 

The agency's country director, Jean-Martin Bauer, explained at a press conference that gangs control road access to Port-au-Prince, disrupting the food supply chain.    

"We know that Haiti is 50% dependent on food imports and we are seeing that the cost of the food basket in Port-au-Prince is going up; it is also going up in other parts of Haiti. This is a big problem for the population. The surveys we have done show that household incomes are going down, because people can't go to work, people are taking shelter," he said.   

Sea and air routes have also been affected, Bauer said. 

Displacement on the rise 

According to the agency, recent agreements between Haiti and Kenya allowing for the deployment of a multinational security support mission in the country are promising. But failure to address the food crisis could jeopardise efforts to restore security. 

The number of displaced people in Haiti has soared to more than 362,000, and more than 35,000 have fled their homes since the beginning of 2024. Those fleeing for their lives are sheltered in schools, churchyards and construction sites.  

Running out of resources 

WFP has assisted more than 280,000 people since 1 March, including delivering 62,000 hot meals to 14,000 displaced people. However, the agency warned that funding for the hot meals programme will soon run out if it does not receive support for its operations.

"Haiti needs more than troops on the ground. Efforts to restore law and order must be accompanied by an equally effective humanitarian response to meet the growing needs. But WFP desperately needs funding to respond to this largely forgotten crisis," said the agency's executive director.  

"Our humanitarian operation in Haiti is stretched to breaking point, and funding for hot meals is about to run out in two weeks. We need donors to step forward today so that we can address the rising tide of hunger and stop the slide into chaos," said Cindy McCain. 

Transitional agreement 

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General said Tuesday that he takes note of the agreement reached on Monday by Haitian stakeholders on a transitional governmental arrangement, including the establishment of a Presidential Council and the appointment of an interim Prime Minister.  

According to statements by his spokesperson at a press conference, António Guterres also took note of Prime Minister Ariel Henry's announcement that he would resign immediately after the installation of the Council. 

The Secretary-General thanked CARICOM and other international partners "for facilitating the way forward to resolve Haiti's political crisis", and called on all to "act responsibly" and take steps to "restore the country's democratic institutions through peaceful, credible, participatory and inclusive elections".