Haiti, U.N. seek $74 million to help agriculture after Sandy

11/07/2012 6:06 AM

11/07/2012 9:31 AM

The Haitian government and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are seeking $74 million to help poor farmers and boost agriculture after Hurricane Sandy.

The storm washed out crops and livestock, and has left up to two million Haitians in danger of malnutrition, the United Nations has said. It was the third disaster to hit Haiti in months, leaving many worried of a worsening food crisis.

Between May and June, regions of Haiti were hit by a severe drought and in August the country was battered by Tropical Storm Isaac. The government has estimated the combined losses to be $254 million.

"The recent natural disasters in Haiti requires the robust response of the international community to support ongoing government efforts," said Adam Yao, FAO senior emergency coordinator in Haiti.

Of the amount being requested, $4 million is needed immediately, the FAO said, to help 20,000 families make it through the cropping season that starts next month. Several groups in country, including within the government, are looking at the next steps in responding to the crisis.

On Tuesday, Haiti kicked off a four-day conference on poverty with a visit by World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Kim met with both Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and President Michel Martelly, who discussed the disastrous effect of the storm: at least 54 deaths, a rise in cholera cases and 70 percent of crops washed out in the southern region. Martelly asked Kim to pay special attention to Haiti.

Kim, who will provide the keynote address at the poverty conference, noted that while “significant progress has been made in the reconstruction of Haiti...it will take a sustained effort for a long time to complete the reconstruction of the country and ensure development.” Kim announced that 60,000 victims of the January 2010 earthquake currently living in camps will be relocated to safe housing under a World Bank program.

After meeting with Martelly, Kim traveled to Mirebalais where he visited a new hospital built by Partners In Health, a medical aid organizations he help co-founded along with Harvard physician Paul Farmer.

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