Representative image of Haitian crisis
Gang violence in Haiti's capital forces residents to flee their homes. Photo by: Reuters/Ralph Tedy Erol

World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Cindy McCain visited Haiti earlier this month, and found the country's hunger crisis "unseen, unheard and unaddressed."

She said that gang violence and climate extremes are widely covered. But not much is written about the "4.9 million Haitians struggling to eat" on a daily basis.

She noted that per capita, the proportion of people in Haiti facing emergency-level food insecurity is the "second highest in the world," and stressed that "we cannot abandon them."

Something is "deeply wrong," according to Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director for Haiti.

He shared that people have got kids in the "hospitals of Gonaïves and Port-au-Prince who are malnourished." And then there are others who have these "mountains of food that we can't move out of highly productive areas because of insecurity."

According to RW, now gang violence and control that were limited in urban areas are spilling into rural places too.

Bauer recalled a recent visit to Artibonite in the northeast which sells fruit to the rest of Haiti.

He said that he met people who can't travel to the market for "fear of being robbed, kidnapped and beaten."

He shared that they met a few women who had been kidnapped while they traveled to the market to sell food.

Bauer also went to a mango farm where a local told him that two years ago when things in the area were relatively normal, "they'd be able to sell a sack of mangoes for 500 gourdes (approximately $3.5 per bag)."

But this year, they are not able to sell any mangoes. That's because people won't "risk sending their trucks on the roads to collect them as they get attacked, ransomed, or racketeered."

According to Al Jazeera, more than 165,000 people in Haiti have fled their homes as there is a rise in gang violence.

Around 80,000 people are temporarily staying with family or friends. But about 48,000 people have crowded into many makeshift shelters or sought refuge in churches, parks and schools in places like Port-au-Prince.

In the last few months, vigilante groups have formed in the capital. They are killing suspected gang members by burning them alive in the street.

Bauer said that it's anarchy and that the social fabric in Haiti has been "ripped to shreds." He noted that there's aggression, violence, and "people are doing whatever it takes to protect themselves."

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