Almost six months after deadly Hurricane Matthew destroyed crops and livestock along Haiti’s southern peninsula, life has become so desperate that Haitians are eating poisonous plants and living in caves to survive, aid workers say.
On Wednesday, 240 people, including 84 women and 62 children, were found in a mountain cave near Fonds Rouge Dahere on the outskirts of Jérémie, the capital of Haiti’s Grand’Anse region. They were discovered by an agricultural director with the South-Florida based charity Food For The Poor, and had been living in the cave ever since Matthew’s 145-miles-per-hour winds hit the southern peninsula in October.
“They have no food. They have no water. They have no shelter,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “It really is a crime against humanity.”
The grim discovery came just days after the charity reported that at least 13 Haitians in the Grand’Anse had died over the past 10 days because of hurricane-related food shortages in the region.
“Families are turning in desperation to fruits and foliage known to be poisonous in an attempt to quell their hunger and save their lives,” the charity said in a press release.
Haiti’s current humanitarian situation is precarious and likely to get worse, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned.
“The vast majority of agricultural households have not recovered their means of production, their financial situation is rapidly deteriorating and their access to basic services has diminished considerably because of the end of emergency programs,” the U.N. humanitarian agency said in a report published last month.
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SOURCE: Miami Herald