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Concern for Haiti remains high amid continued violence, elevated prices

  • Key Message Update
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • December 2022
Concern for Haiti remains high amid continued violence, elevated prices

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    • In Haiti, insecurity has continued to spike, with instances of political violence and associated deaths doubling between January and November 2022 compared to the same period last year. In areas worst-affected by the violence, humanitarian access remains limited, and the ability to generate income remains severely disrupted. In Cité Soleil this has resulted in consumption deficits indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4), while other neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince where engagement in typical livelihoods and coping strategies is relatively more possible are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Across the rest of the country, poorer households in areas worst-affected by recent climatic shocks are engaging in the sale of their productive assets and consuming seed stock, resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in Nord, Artibonite, Grand’Anse, Nippes, Sud, and Sud-est.

    • The availability of fuel at gas stations has been improving since the government regained control of Varreux, the main storage center; however, public transportation prices remain more than 200 percent above the prices set in December 2021, putting upward pressure on food prices. The HTG continues its marked decline against the USD, trading at 138.7 HTG: USD on November 29 on official markets and closer to 155 HTG: USD in the parallel market. With the bulk of Haitian food imported from overseas, the depreciation of the HTG is extremely concerning for food prices, which remain significantly above average, correlated with parallel market exchange rates.  

    • Across Central America, high demand for agricultural labor and improvements in economic activities in rural and urban areas are raising households’ income and reducing the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Postrera harvests will replenish the reserves for own consumption and for sale for producing households, and a slight seasonal decrease in the prices of staple grains is expected Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in most areas through May 2023. However, some of the poorest households across the region – and some areas in the eastern Dry Corridor, western Altiplano, and Alta Verapaz of Guatemala will face Crisis outcomes (IPC Phase 3) due to atypical price increases, significant accumulated debt, and crop losses during both primera and postrera seasons. An early start of the annual lean season in February/March 2023 is likely for worst-affected households, and the proportion of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will slowly increase with the progression of the lean season.

    • General inflation continues to be high in the region, with interannual inflation rates hitting 7.5, 9.7, 10.2, and 12.2 percent in October in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, respectively. Fuel prices remain stable due to government measures, but staple grains have seen little to no seasonal decline in prices and both food and transportation categories of the Consumer Price Index remain well above average throughout the region. Although seasonal improvements in income-generating activities will at least partially offset these atypical increases, most households will still feel the negative impacts of high prices in limited purchasing power and an inability to cover their non-food needs.

    • Although national-level postrera harvests are expected to be near-normal, some localized damage caused by excess moisture and by flooding from tropical storm Julia, as well as the reductions in cropped area and fertilizer use due to high input prices, have limited subsistence farmers’ yields and resulted in below average harvests for those affected. In areas that participate in the apante season, favorable weather conditions will likely support near-average harvests. In Guatemala, cold fronts may negatively impact vegetables and fruit crops in the worst-affected areas in the coming months. Throughout the region, La Nina conditions will persist until the beginning of 2023, and average precipitation forecasts through May 2023 are expected to allow for a normal start of the primera season.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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