ANSE-A-PITRES, Haiti -- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) has launched for the fifth consecutive year a food security program by which 243.88 metric tons of food will be distributed to 25,600 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
This program, funded by USAID's Food for Peace Office-International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP), responds to the continuing efforts by both organizations to combat hunger and reduce poverty within the most vulnerable and impoverished urban slums and rural "batey" communities of the Dominican Republic and villages in Southeastern border regions of Haiti.
Sixteen other local government and non-governmental organizations will join hands with BRA to distribute more than 12 million highly nutritional food rations to thousands of internally displaced people affected by the earthquake of Haiti in January 2010. Other beneficiaries include pregnant women, orphaned/vulnerable children, the elderly, and people affected by cholera and living with HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis.
The food distribution, which targets nine Dominican provinces (Santo Domingo, Monte Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, Dajabon, etc.) and four Haiti border communes (Grand Gosier, Thiotte, Anse-a-Pitres and Belle Anse), complement four other important BRA projects that provide free antiparasitic medicines and multivitamins to 62,000 school-aged children; deliver comprehensive health services and antiretroviral treatment to 550 people living with HIV/AIDS; expand USDA-funded agricultural productions for 7,000 cooperative farmers and their families; and deliver skills training and microcredit to 150 Haitian women.
Prior to the January 2010 earthquake, the UN World Food Program classified Haiti as a low income food deficit country, with an estimated 2.4 million food insecure residents. Haiti relies heavily on imported food (48 percent), with international food assistance comprising five percent of the national food supply. 24 percent of the population is chronically undernourished.
Meanwhile, more than two million (27%) of the Dominican's 8.9 million inhabitants are undernourished. Dominican authorities had estimated that approximately 65,000 children under the age of five (8% of the population) suffer from chronic malnutrition.