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Two years after Haitian quake, UN Ambassador Against Hunger views progress

Article / Review by on January 5, 2012 – 11:55 pmNo Comments

Two years after Haitian quake, UN Ambassador Against Hunger views progress

WFP aid being distributed in HaitiWFP aid being distributed in Haiti

Almost two years after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a high-profile advocate for the United Nations food relief agency has visited the Caribbean country to survey the agency’s efforts in fighting malnutrition among those made homeless by the disaster.

In his first trip to Haiti, Canadian journalist and World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger George Stroumboulopoulos saw the progress being made on the ground by the UN and other aid providers since the 12 January 2010 quake, the agency reported today.

His first stop was a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) known as Camp Sersal, which is home to an estimated 10,000 people living in tents or temporary shelters.

Mr. Stroumboulopoulos visited a large tent housing the camp’s medical services where children – ranging from the ages of six months to five years – are weighed and measured to determine whether they suffer from malnutrition. Pregnant and nursing women are also examined for any signs of malnourishment.

When the medical centre’s test results indicate moderate malnutrition in its patients, they are immediately enrolled in the WFP’s programme against hunger and moved to a smaller tent nearby to receive a special fortified food until they recover their full health.

“That ad hoc health centre has to serve a lot of people and right out of there, you address family nutrition needs and you have the feeding centre next to it,” said Mr. Stroumboulopoulos, as he observed the bustling clinic.

He then visited a public school where children were benefiting from a WFP feeding initiative. Every day, across Haiti, the UN agency and its partners provide full meals to roughly 1.1 million school children. In addition, the WFP has been helping the Haitian Government build a universal school meals programme by developing strong links between local farmers and schools.

“I like how the school feeding program is so tied to education so you feel you’re not just addressing an emergency situation,” noted Mr. Stroumboulopoulos.

“You’re not just feeding somebody because they’re hungry. Here, kids are coming, they’re learning, they’re reading, and they’re eating at the same time. Both are feeding into each other,” he added. “It’s cool to see all of that.”


About United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Fighting hunger worldwide United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Logo

The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

“In emergencies, we get food to where it is needed, saving the lives of victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. After the cause of an emergency has passed, we use food to help communities rebuild their shattered lives.”

WFP is part of the United Nations system and is voluntarily funded.

Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. We work towards that vision with our sister UN agencies in Rome — the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) — as well as other government, UN and NGO partners.

In 2011 we aim to reach more than 90 million people with food assistance in more than 70 countries. Around 10,000 people work for the organization, most of them in remote areas, directly serving the hungry poor.

WFP’s five objectives:

  1. Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies
  2. Prepare for emergencies
  3. Restore and rebuild lives after emergencies
  4. Reduce chronic hunger and undernutrition everywhere
  5. Strengthen the capacity of countries to reduce hunger

WFP’s Mission statement

WFP is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Food aid is one of the many instruments that can help to promote food security, which is defined as access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. ¹ The policies governing the use of World Food Programme food aid must be oriented towards the objective of eradicating hunger and poverty. The ultimate objective of food aid should be the elimination of the need for food aid.

Targeted interventions are needed to help to improve the lives of the poorest people – people who, either permanently or during crisis periods, are unable to produce enough food or do not have the resources to otherwise obtain the food that they and their households require for active and healthy lives.

Consistent with its mandate, which also reflects the principle of universality, WFP will continue to:

  • use food aid to support economic and social development;
  • meet refugee and other emergency food needs, and the associated logistics support; and
  • promote world food security in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations and FAO.

The core policies and strategies that govern WFP activities are to provide food aid:

  • to save lives in refugee and other emergency situations;
  • to improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives; and
  • to help build assets and promote the self-reliance of poor people and communities, particularly through labour-intensive works programmes.

Share food, change lives


> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.


* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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