Haitian pop star joins forces with UN to feed some of the world’s hungriest
United Nations food aid agency and an organization founded by Haitian
pop star Wyclef Jean announced today that they have joined forces to
distribute food in two of the most violent neighbourhoods in
Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, where hunger is so severe that
residents consume mud pies containing trace nutrients.
Large-scale food distributions had been significantly decreased or even
stopped altogether last year in Cit?¬© Soleil and Bel Air because of the
level of danger there, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) and Y?¬©le Haiti, which was created by Mr. Jean after the devastation of Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004.
In June this year, Y?¬©le Haiti organized local hip hop musicians to
distribute rice, beans and vegetable oil to the poorest people in the
two neighbourhoods and WFP has agreed to provide food for continued
distributions. Twice-monthly distributions feeding approximately 2,700
people, and there are plans to increase that number.
Beneficiaries are chosen by local community centres, and the musicians
distribute the food mainly to women, the traditional heads of families
“Working with Y?¬©le Haiti has allowed us to reach out to some of the
most vulnerable people in Haiti, namely the women and children of Cit?¬©
Soleil and Bel Air. We are therefore very happy about this new
cooperation,” says WFP Haiti Country Director Mamadou Mbaye.
The neighbourhoods, said WFP, are the poorest slums in Haiti, which is
itself the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Overall
unemployment in Haiti is at 80 per cent, and even higher in these
districts. Open sewers run through the slum shacks, which are often
built on mounds of garbage.
Mud pies have been part of life in Cit?¬© Soleil and Bel Air for decades,
the agency said. The polluted clay is formed into patties and laid in
the sun to bake.