More Than 800,000 Haitians Face Starvation After Hurricane Matthew

Angela Bronner Helm
Hurricane Matthew victims wait for the start of delivery of food from the U.N.’s World Food Programme in the commune of Maniche, in Les Cayes, in the southwest of Haiti, on Oct. 17, 2016.

A month after Hurricane Matthew tore through the island nation of Haiti, the United Nations confirms that nearly 800,000 Haitians are facing severe food shortages, with rioting and children begging for food a daily occurrence.

On Oct. 4, Hurricane Matthew decimated fishing villages and shredded mountain hamlets, destroying for already poor Haitians their sources of subsistence: crops, livestock and fruit trees. The United Nations reports that the communities of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, Baradères, Grand-Boucan, Plaisance-du-Sud, Asile and Petite-Rivière-de-Nippes have been severely affected, with almost 80 percent of their crops destroyed.


More than 877 Haitians have died, and the storm has exacerbated an already significant cholera crisis.

The Washington Post reports that emergency help is arriving, but there is not enough of it, and it will take several more weeks to reach remote mountain communities where officials say the destruction was total.

The outlet notes that truckloads of food and medical supplies have been looted by crowds gathered along the roadways, and a teenage boy was killed Tuesday by police in the city of Les Cayes, where hungry crowds burned tires and blocked roads. Haitian police also killed another person on Oct. 26 in the coastal village of Dame Marie, where the arrival of an aid shipment sent crowds surging onto the docks.

The U.N. has raised just one-third of the $120 million in emergency funding it says it needs to help 750,000 people, including 315,000 children, get through the next three months.


There is no electricity or schooling in many parts of the country because school buildings are being used as shelters and hospitals for broken bones after thousands of homes were destroyed.

To donate to the United Nations’ World Food Program in Haiti, click here.

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