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As Food Crisis Looms in Haiti, Lutheran World Relief Responds

by Staff
April 15, 2010
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BALTIMORE, (christiansunite.com) -- The "lean season" is approaching in Haiti - the time between planting and harvest when food supplies are at their lowest and the threat of hunger increases. To help rural communities affected by the January earthquake, Lutheran World Relief and local partners will distribute seeds to boost agricultural production and offset food shortages.

"During the lean season, families typically live off what little food they've managed to store for themselves. With the influx of urban migrants, even these meager stores are depleted. The threat of hunger for Haitians is very real and LWR must act now to help," says Michael Watt, LWR's Regional Director for Latin America.

Even before the earthquake, a succession of disasters - including four consecutive hurricanes in 2008 - weakened Haiti's already fragile food supply. While most Haitians farm, few families raise enough to support themselves or feed their families year-round. After the earthquake, scores of Haitians migrated from urban areas like Port-au-Prince to rural communities, putting an even greater strain on food supplies.

LWR will work with two partners in Haiti to distribute seeds to rural communities. Working with partners World Neighbors and Partenariat pour le Developpement Local (Partnership for Local Development) LWR aims to boost agricultural production in struggling rural communities while also addressing the existing problem of malnutrition. Before the earthquake, a quarter of Haiti's children were malnourished and a third of the overall population suffered from chronic hunger.

"LWR will to distribute seeds and work with farmers to produce sufficient crops, equipping them to feed the increased population and meet their nutritional needs," adds Watt.

Seeds for black beans, peanuts, and cowpeas will provide an important source of protein. Families will also receive seeds to grow carbohydrates like cassava and yams. Rounding out the distribution will be vegetable seeds like squash, pumpkin, green beans and onions, all providing essential nutrients.

"Without the overwhelming support of our donors, projects like this would not be possible," says John Nunes, LWR president and CEO. This project is one part of LWR's long-term response to the Haiti earthquake. LWR has committed $6 million in funds and at least 3 to 5 years to help the island nation recover.

"We ask that you keep the people of Haiti, and LWR's work with them, in your prayers," adds Nunes, "just as you remember the millions of people around the world whom LWR serves on your behalf. Your support of LWR makes this life-sustaining work possible."

To make a donation that enables LWR to continue its work around the world, including rapid response to emergencies, please visit http://lwr.org/giving or call 800-597-5972.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. And has worked in international development and relief since 1945.

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