Hundreds Of Thousands Going Hungry In Haiti After Hurricane Matthew, Oxfam Warns

ReutersA girl looks back in an area destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Les Anglais, Haiti. Oxfam has warned that governments and aid agencies need to step up support.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians who survived Hurricane Matthew will go hungry if governments, donors and aid agencies do not step up efforts to help them, Oxfam has warned.

The charity reported that a $139 million UN fund set up to respond the most urgent needs after the hurricane, is 38 per cent underfunded.

The aftermath of the hurricane which tore through Haiti three months ago means that people's lives are still in danger.

"People in the South and Grande Anse departments on the southern peninsula of Haiti are particularly at risk," the charity said. "A very poor harvest is expected in January and February as Matthew wiped out 80 per cent of crops, drowned most livestock and destroyed critical infrastructure as it tore a swathe through the country's 'bread-basket'. In the most affected areas, 80 per cent of the population relies on subsistence farming to feed their families and make a living."

Rural populations were already struggling to cope with a severe drought that devastated crops even before the hurricane struck in late September and early October.

"The hurricane also hit at the worst possible time as farmers were getting ready to harvest the little they had managed to produce," Oxfam said.

Damien Berrendorf, country director of Oxfam in Haiti, said: "Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti in a matter of hours but has created a long-term catastrophe that will take the country years to recover from. The Haitian government, donors and aid agencies need to act - jointly, coherently and urgently - to prioritise food security and nutrition in the next three to six months to stop people dying from hunger."

Official figures from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs show that 806,000 people are at an extreme level of "food insecurity" and that an estimated 750,000 people do not have safe water for drinking, cooking, and washing.

Oxfam is calling on donor countries to deliver on their aid promises and ensure the full funding of the UN appeal.