UN food relief agency to assist one million Haitians hit by three-year drought

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today it will launch an emergency operation in Haiti to assist one million people devastated by three years of prolonged drought exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

An estimated 3.6 million people – or one-third of Haiti’s population – face food insecurity. This number includes more than 1.5 million who are severely food insecure and do not know where their next meal is coming from, according to an assessment by WFP and the National Coordination for Food Security.

“We must immediately help hungry Haitians. Drought and poverty should not force a child to go to bed hungry,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, ending a three-day visit to Haiti where she met communities hit by drought and El Niño.

The assessment found that the main 2015 spring harvest was below average, with almost three-quarters of farmers reporting they had lost more than 82 per cent of production. For the 2016 spring season, 65 per cent of families said they could not plant due to a lack of agricultural inputs. A scarcity of locally produced food has led to price hikes of up to 60 per cent.

Haiti’s interim leader to set up commission to investigate alleged election frauds

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (HCNN) — Haitian interim President Jocelerme Privert held a meeting on Thursday at the presidential palace with representatives of political parties and civil society groups to discuss and determine the terms of reference for an evaluation committee which is tasked with investigating alleged frauds in the presidential and legislative elections held last year in the Caribbean country.

The establishment of the controversial commission has been a constant demand by political groups that opposed the former administration of ex-president Michel Martelly, following a series of protests against the results of the first round of the ballot believed to have been manipulated in favor of the former ruling PHTK candidates, particularly Jovenel Moise who was running for president.

“We are setting up the evaluation commission because it has been a constant request from quasi all the sectors we’ve met during discussions we’ve had with political actors and civil society groups in the country,” Privert told HCNN on Thursday.

“We need to remember the reason why previous attempts to organize the elections have failed. so we can’t repeat the same mistakes.”

Haiti will miss election deadline, no date for new president

REUTERS – Haiti will not meet a deadline to complete its presidential election by April 24, the top election official said on Thursday, without giving a new date to hold the already delayed vote in the impoverished Caribbean country.

The election was postponed in January after sometimes violent protests over allegations of fraud in the first round. An interim government has been running the country since the last president’s term ended in February.

“It is clear that the elections won’t take place on April 24, but we are still assessing the election machinery as we make decisions about the way forward,” the head of a newly appointed electoral council, Leopold Berlanger, told Reuters.

He said the delay, which comes after political battles over the formation of the interim government, meant that temporary President Jocelerme Privert would not hand over to an elected successor by May 14, as agreed in a cross-party deal to overcome the crisis

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