April 8, 2024

ADRA Distributes Food to Displaced Families as Violence Escalates in Haiti

Initiative seeks to avoid starvation as people mull when to return home.

Kevner Sineus and Inter-American Division News Staff
An Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) volunteer in Haiti with children who are eating a hot meal provided at Carrefour Welcome Center in Port-au-Prince. [Photo: ADRA Haiti]

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Haiti has been providing food and basic supplies to hundreds of people throughout the metropolitan area of Carrefour in Port-au-Prince and other regions in February and March. Families have fled their homes due to the escalating violence of armed groups across several parts of the country.

“There are so many vulnerable people, including children, pregnant women, and the elderly gathered in public spaces, mostly churches, in the Waney area of Carrefour,” Carlin Louis, ADRA Haiti emergency response coordinator, said. Louis reported that ADRA Haiti and the Directorate for Civil Protection carried out assessments of sites last month to determine the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

ADRA Haiti’s initial response included distribution of hot meals twice a day to 350 people at five different sites in Carrefour. “We are saddened to see the misery in which these people, who have been forced to abandon their homes, live because of the clashes between armed groups,” Louis said. “A meal can prevent displaced persons from starving as they are uncertain how much time they might spend away from home.”

The initial distribution of hot meals was financed entirely by ADRA Haiti and carried out in collaboration with the Directorate of Civil Protection and the Carrefour Town Office, February 17-20. Volunteers from the municipality assisted in mobilizing support for the program while ADRA kept increasing the number of meals available at several sites.

ADRA also provided meals to more than 250 children and youth for four days at the Carrefour Welcome Center. In addition, ADRA Haiti donated 400 bags of flour, 200 bags of rice, 100 bags of corn, 200 bags of beans, 25 bags of sugar, and 340 gallons (almost 1,300 liters) of cooking oil to assist the feeding of the children at the center. M. Bernard Henry, director of the Carrefour Welcome Center, thanked ADRA for the much-needed food supplies to help in the current crisis.

“I would like to thank ADRA for what they do for me because it allowed me to find food and eat good things,” said Alcide, a child at one of the five centers in Mahotieere and Waney areas where ADRA assisted.

Mother Fortuné Remose, 52, said she was grateful to ADRA for providing meals to her and her son. She had to flee her home and has settled in the Waney 93 Church in Carrefour indefinitely. “We are uncomfortable because we were unable to collect our things from home, and now we need help from humanitarian institutions,” Remose said. She shared that she wants the authorities to act quickly so that she and her neighbors and their children can return to their homes.

As part of its food program in collaboration with its partner, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, ADRA distributed food kits to more than 7,000 households in the Commune of Carrefour.

ADRA Haiti also distributed food kits to displaced families in the municipality of Léogâne, an area severely affected by the food crisis, Louis reported.

In addition, ADRA Haiti distributed 5,000 non-food kits with tarpaulins, jerrycans, blankets, and kitchen utensils for 1,250 families taking shelter at Marie-Jeanne High School in downtown Port-au-Prince on March 8. Many families have been packed into classrooms or are sleeping on the school grounds, ADRA leaders reported.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently indicated that more than 150,000 people have been displaced by the violence of armed groups in the metropolitan regions. The IOM also reported that, following various armed attacks at the beginning of February in the municipalities of Carrefour, Cité Soleil, Tabarre, and in the city center, more than 17,000 people have fled gang violence.

The National Coordination of Food Security estimates that more than five million people suffer from food insecurity, a situation they expect will worsen in the months to come if nothing is done to stop the violence, Louis said.

“There is an alarming situation here, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency is committed to its mission to provide support to many people struggling in Haiti,” Louis said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.