This article was recommended to us by a Haitian friend of the WSP. We reprint it for the information contained – the on the ground conditions as our contact in Haiti confirms them. It doesn’t reflect the WSP policies.
America’s Role in Haiti’s Hunger Riots
By Bill Quigley
Monday 21 April 2008
Riots in Haiti over explosive rises in food costs have claimed the lives of six people. There have also been food riots worldwide in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivorie, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
The Economist, which calls the current crisis the silent tsunami, reports that last year wheat prices rose 77 percent and rice 16 percent, but since January rice prices have risen 141 percent. The reasons include rising fuel costs, weather problems, increased demand in China and India, and the push to create biofuels from cereal crops.
Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port-au-Prince, told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids are “like toothpicks – they’re not getting enough nourishment. Before, if you had $1.25, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents of charcoal and a little cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all. Oil is 25 cents. Charcoal is 25 cents. With $1.25, you can’t even make a plate of rice for one child.”
The St. Claire’s Church Food program, in the Tiplas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, serves 1,000 free meals a day, almost all to hungry children – ﬁve times a week in partnership with the What If Foundation. Children from Cit-Soleil have been known to walk the ﬁve miles to the church for a meal. The costs of rice, beans, vegetables, a little meat, spices, cooking oil and propane for the stoves, have gone up dramatically. Because of the rise in the cost of food, the portions are now smaller. But hunger is on the rise, and more and more children come for the free meal. Hungry adults used to be allowed to eat the leftovers once all the children were fed, but now there are few leftovers.
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