Spike in cost of staples threatens country’s fragile security


Story Transcript

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Protesters angered by high food prices flooded the streets of Haiti’s capital on Monday, forcing businesses and schools to close as unrest spread from the countryside. Tension was high in the capital between the protesters and UN peacekeepers. Last week, at least four people were killed in clashes with UN peacekeepers in riots over high food prices. The UN World Food Program made an urgent appeal for donations on Monday to support its operations in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Haitians are particularly affected by food prices that are rising worldwide. The cost of staples such as rice, beans, fruits, and condensed milk have gone up 50 percent in the past year, while the cost of pasta has doubled. Eighty percent of the population live on less than US$2 a day.

STREETER (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): This is absurd, the government cannot provide the population with food, which is a basic necessity, or anything else. So, if it cannot provide its citizens with the basic necessities, they should resign.

NKWETA: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned last week that the food crisis could threaten Haiti’s already fragile security.

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