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Haitians Say Their Hunger Is Real
Reuters ^ | 4-10-2008 | Jim Loney

Posted on 04/10/2008 4:26:24 PM PDT by blam

Haitians say their hunger is real

Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:45pm EDT
By Jim Loney

PORT-AU-PRINCE, April 10 (Reuters) - Elta Petithomme has been scouring the Haitian capital's garbage-strewn main market street for hours, searching for something to feed her four young children. Today, pickings are slim.

Yesterday she sold a cellphone for 50 gourdes, the equivalent of about $1.30, enough to buy some bread, sugar and fried plantains. That's all the children, all under the age of 6, had to eat for the day.

"Some days neighbors will cook and give us some food, as little as it is. Every day is like this," said Petithomme, neatly dressed in a white T-shirt and denim skirt. "I'm not working. I am hungry. But today, I haven't found anything for us to eat."

Petithomme and hundreds of other Haitians flooded the streets of the capital on Thursday after two days of sometimes violent protests against skyrocketing food prices that have Haitians complaining of rising hunger and talking about death by starvation.

"In the last two months, all the prices have doubled or tripled," Oxfam official Yolette Etienne said.

High fuel prices, which have made transportation more expensive, rising demand in Asia, the use of farmland and crops for biofuels, a long drought in Australia and speculation on futures markets have combined to push up food prices worldwide.

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is one of three countries in the world that share the largest daily caloric deficit -- 460 calories per day below the daily requirement of 2,100 calories per day, according to the World Food Program.

RICE AND SUGAR RISING

At the Canape Vert Market, where oranges, onions, peppers and rolls of toilet paper are neatly stacked, clouds of flies infest piles of pork and sausages, and stray dogs work furiously against their fleas, vendors seemed to have plenty of supplies, but there were few buyers.

Marie France Presky has been selling staples for 10 years. Her cost for a 55-pound (25-kg) bag of rice has climbed from 530 gourdes ($13.90) to 1,075 gourdes ($28.20) since January.

The same is true for her other necessities: sugar jumped from 1,200 gourdes ($31.50) to 1,700 gourdes ($44.70) for a 110-pound (50 kg) bag; flour from about 1,200 ($31.50) to about 2,000 gourdes ($53.00) for a similar amount.

"The people, they buy tiny amounts now. I am hardly making any profit at all," she said, adding with a broad smile: "I haven't eaten today and you are making me talk too much. I don't have the energy."

Most gas stations were closed on Thursday and some were boarded up against vandals and looters. A worker at one service station said the price of diesel had risen from 134 gourdes ($3.50) to 152 gourdes ($4.00) per gallon (3.8 liters) in 15 days.

It is common for Haitians to scrape by with money from relatives abroad. Remittances are nearly one-quarter of Haiti's GDP and more than double the total of exports, according to World Bank figures.

Often, family and friends in the Caribbean nation help each other out.

"My parents in the provinces sometimes send us some food," said Pierre Rolin, a 35-year-old who lives with his three younger brothers in Port-au-Prince. He was scouting job opportunities Thursday on Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the downtown market street.

"I am not working. I am going around trying to find what I can to survive. Even if I fix something for someone, usually they can't pay, so there is no way to feed my family," he said.

On Wednesday, he said, he managed to buy a bag with four pieces of bread for 30 gourdes ($0.80). "The price has not gone up, but the bread is not even half the size it was before."

International agencies say most Haitians live on less than $2 per day.

"This is a situation of complete desperation," Oxfam's Etienne said. "At this stage, they are hungry. But without strong action, this could become starvation." (Additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva; Editing by Tom Brown)


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: food; foodinsecurity; haiti; hatians; hunger; starvation

1 posted on 04/10/2008 4:26:24 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

will haiti ever improve ?


2 posted on 04/10/2008 4:28:23 PM PDT by kingattax (99 % of liberals give the rest a bad name)
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To: blam

Haiti is a small Caribbean nation occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola, adjacent to the Dominican Republic.

According to the United Nations Human Development Report, Haiti is considered the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and also has the lowest life expectancy rate of 51.5 years; seventy-eight percent of its population of 8.4 million lives on less than US $2 per day.

1 Seventy percent of Haitians lack sustainable access to safe sanitation while 46 percent lack sustainable access to safe water supplies. Haiti has the highest maternal mortality, infant mortality, and HIV prevalence rates in the Western Hemisphere.

2 Primary public health problems include HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, and perinatal conditions, including low birth weight and birth trauma.

http://www.directrelief.org/WhereWeWork/Countries/Haiti/Haiti.aspx?gclid=CIaQrM3T0ZICFQNEPAodu0WVkQ


3 posted on 04/10/2008 4:34:48 PM PDT by Graybeard58
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To: blam
High fuel prices, which have made transportation more expensive, rising demand in Asia, the use of farmland and crops for biofuels, a long drought in Australia and speculation on futures markets have combined to push up food prices worldwide.

We can all thank the greenies for high fuel prices and the ethanol madness. Their sheer lunacy has distorted the markets (including commodity futures).

The effects of Big Government (i.e., the attitude that we know better than you) are so predictable.

Of course, the leftists will probably start yelling about unrestrained population growth, evil capitalism, climate change, the war in Iraq, and so forth. They might even throw in a few cries of "women, children, and minorities hardest hit" or "it's all Bush's fault." But, in the end, any "solutions" that they have to offer will only make things worse.

4 posted on 04/10/2008 4:34:51 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (I have great faith in the American people. I have no faith in the American government, however.)
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To: blam

Nice, the World Bank and IMF works it’s magic once again.


5 posted on 04/10/2008 4:35:19 PM PDT by BGHater (It's easy to be brave from a distance.)
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To: BGHater

Say, wasn’t Haiti one of those Clinton ‘success’ stories?


6 posted on 04/10/2008 4:37:12 PM PDT by Noumenon (The only thing that prevents liberals from loading us all into cattle cars is the power to do it)
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To: blam

I just saw Rep. Roscoe Bartlett talk on C-span about peak oil. One of the fact he noted was quite astonishing to me. People in third world countries spend around 50-60% of their income on food alone. So when food prices double, it really hits those folks very hard. Even if we were to burn all the corn we make to produce biofuel, it would only amount to 2.5% of all oil consumed in this country. The situation for world food prices will only deteriorate from this point, the mandate from congress for % ethanol in fuel is set to increase. Look for more headlines around the world about food riots. The poor people of the world cannot afford a doubling of food prices, it literally means starvation. Our biofuel mandate is probably going to cost a lot of lives before someone with sense step in.


7 posted on 04/10/2008 4:38:49 PM PDT by a_chronic_whiner (Captain: For Great Justice)
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To: Noumenon

Wouldn’t say that, but not many countries are a success when the UN comes to the rescue.


8 posted on 04/10/2008 4:38:57 PM PDT by BGHater (It's easy to be brave from a distance.)
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To: blam

And meanwhile we and others use food to make more expensive, less efficient and, ultimately, more polluting Ethanol. I guess the Food Lobby is not as powerful as the ADM/Ethanol Lobby.


9 posted on 04/10/2008 4:48:29 PM PDT by Doneit
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To: a_chronic_whiner

Agree absolutely. See my post #9


10 posted on 04/10/2008 4:50:18 PM PDT by Doneit
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To: a_chronic_whiner
"The poor people of the world cannot afford a doubling of food prices, it literally means starvation."

You get it.

Look for crazy stuff to begin happening all over the world. You think there are immigrant problems now, just wait. Everyone in Africa will head for Europe, etc.

11 posted on 04/10/2008 4:54:27 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: a_chronic_whiner

I was complaining earlier because my favorite tortilla corn chips went up 17% in price last week.


12 posted on 04/10/2008 4:57:00 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Haitians say their hunger is real

I don't doubt it, I was shocked to learn today their population is approaching 9 million people. I had assumed it was in the neighborhood of 4 million.

13 posted on 04/10/2008 4:57:55 PM PDT by OeOeO (maybe I didn't come over on the Mayflower, but I got here as soon as I could" Anton Cermak)
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To: a_chronic_whiner

There is a simple solution.

Pretty much Ethanol subsidies is locked in until the next farm bill. Pretty much nothing can be done about it for a year. All the bitching and moaning won’t feed a single person.

So all the people who is so concerned about the poor of the world starving should plow up their front and back yards and plant food crops to send to Haiti and elsewhere.


14 posted on 04/10/2008 4:58:43 PM PDT by Swiss
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To: kingattax
will haiti ever improve

Does not appear so.

15 posted on 04/10/2008 4:59:47 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: kingattax

“will haiti ever improve ?”

No. Just look what has been running it for decades? Crooked thugs.


16 posted on 04/10/2008 5:13:33 PM PDT by ought-six
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To: Graybeard58

Ever fly over Haiti? if so, you can see the border with the Dominican Republic; it is a straight line down the eastern part of the island the two countries share. This is because the Haitians have cut down all available forests for wood and fuel; the Dominican Republic, on the ohter hand, protects its forests and trees. So, you have a Green Line dividing the barren Haiti and the flora-filled DR. Think of what this means for soil erosion, fuel and a variety of other economic issues.


17 posted on 04/10/2008 5:15:42 PM PDT by laconic (ence)
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To: blam

Years ago, someone said that if you fly over the island of Hispanola you can see where the Domician Republic ends and Haiti begins. The Dom Rep side is all green and forested. The Haiti side has nothing but mud hills and erosion. The people of Haiti have destroyed their own nation’s ability to produce food.


18 posted on 04/10/2008 5:32:08 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (When someone burns a cross on your lawn the best firehose is an AK-47.)
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To: rabscuttle385
“Of course, the leftists will probably start yelling about unrestrained population growth....”

That's why the left so eagerly supports abortion. The left also is big on euthanasia. And we all know how avidly the left pursues genocide.

19 posted on 04/10/2008 5:32:38 PM PDT by ought-six
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To: Noumenon

***Say, wasn’t Haiti one of those Clinton ‘success’ stories?***

If I remember correctly, Clinton held aid money for Haiti hostage to get black congressmen to vote for his assault rifle ban.


20 posted on 04/10/2008 5:34:49 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (When someone burns a cross on your lawn the best firehose is an AK-47.)
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To: blam
**Everyone in Africa will head for Europe, etc**

There was a work of fiction about that back in the 1970’s. I read a review of the book then and someone on FR mentioned it a few years back. I don't remember the name of the book.

21 posted on 04/10/2008 5:37:09 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (When someone burns a cross on your lawn the best firehose is an AK-47.)
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To: a_chronic_whiner
America is not responsible for the food supply of the whole dam world. These people must be responsible for their own food supply. We should make our ethanol decision based on our own economics(which by itself would mean we stop producing ethanol), not the third world food supply.
22 posted on 04/10/2008 5:40:59 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: blam
I have a number of Haitian friends.

Of those Haitians that I am familiar with, I consider myself fortunate to even know them at all.

I have my own ideas (criticisms) about just how my political representatives should behave, but I have no such criticisms of my Haitian acquaintances.

My friends are workers, and they en masse seem to be completely disinterested in social welfare programs as a lifestyle choice.

23 posted on 04/10/2008 5:41:45 PM PDT by Radix (How come they call people "Morons" when they do not know as much? Shouldn't they be called "Lessons?)
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To: Radix

Yet, Haiti has much in common with Zimbabwe.


24 posted on 04/10/2008 5:51:29 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar; laconic

Haiti to the left, DR to the right.

25 posted on 04/10/2008 6:03:17 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
"There was a work of fiction about that back in the 1970’s. I read a review of the book then and someone on FR mentioned it a few years back. I don't remember the name of the book. "


26 posted on 04/10/2008 6:05:43 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: mamelukesabre; Swiss
America is not responsible for the food supply of the whole dam world. These people must be responsible for their own food supply. We should make our ethanol decision based on our own economics(which by itself would mean we stop producing ethanol), not the third world food supply.

The ethanol mandates have failed miserably.  Wait till it reaches 36 billion gallon required by 2022.  We are now committed to 9 billion gallons for 2008.  It won't be long until consumers begin to put 2 and 2 together.  If you think we shouldn't care about global food prices, and let the rest of the world be damn, just wait till these people come knocking on our doorsteps and tell me how you feel then.  

27 posted on 04/10/2008 8:21:56 PM PDT by a_chronic_whiner (Captain: For Great Justice)
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To: a_chronic_whiner

H3ll with them. THey should be making their own food anyway. Maybe this will pressure them enough to overthrow their pathetic governments and build a real country of their own.


28 posted on 04/10/2008 8:49:15 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: kingattax

No
Haiti is a lost cause. Its folks are uneducated and filled with superstitious voodoo inspired fear.
Killing and lawlessness is the norm.


29 posted on 04/11/2008 4:05:06 AM PDT by Joe Boucher (An enemy of Islam)
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