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Families Going Hungry as Drought Hits Haiti

/ Source: Associated Press
Image: Students hold out their plates as the school cook ladles out a bulgur wheat and bean dish at a public school in Bombardopolis, Haiti.
Students hold out their plates as the school cook ladles out a bulgur wheat and bean dish at a public school in Bombardopolis, Haiti. Drought is hitting one of the hungriest, most desolate parts of the most impoverished nation in the hemisphere and it has alarmed international aid organizations such the U.N.World Food Program, which sent workers this week to pass out bulgur wheat, cooking oil and salt.AP

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BOMBARDOPOLIS, Haiti (AP) — Jean-Romain Beltinor plunged a hoe into the rocky dirt on his parched hillside to prepare for planting seeds he does not have.

After months of drought in northwest Haiti, the subsistence farmer struggles to find food for his 13 children. To earn a little money, he must turn to work that only makes things worse, cutting what little wood remains for charcoal.

"The rain isn't falling. I can't feed my family," said Beltinor, a taciturn man with a creased face and a hint of orange hair, as he yanked old roots from his small plot of land. "Sometimes you spend a couple of days without food."

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Image:  Jeanilia Jean-Baptiste 38, stands in the entrance of her home, surrounded by 5 of her children, during an interview in Bombardopolis, Haiti.
Jeanilia Jean-Baptiste 38, stands in the entrance of her home, surrounded by 5 of her children, during an interview in Bombardopolis, Haiti. Jean-Baptiste said she received a $35 government handout in September. “I spent the money on school tuition, shoes for my children but it wasn’t enough,” she said.Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

Drought is hitting one of the hungriest, most desolate parts of the most impoverished nation in the hemisphere and it has alarmed international aid organizations such as the U.N. World Food Program, which sent workers this week to pass out bulgur wheat, cooking oil and salt.

The agency said it has given food to 164,000 people in the region so far, and the government said it has handed out 6,000 seed kits for farmers.

Image:  Larionise Beltinor 10, sweeps the entrance of her home while her 7-month-old brother Jean Widson Beltimor crawls nearby in Bombardopolis, northwestern Haiti.
Larionise Beltinor 10, sweeps the entrance of her home while her 7-month-old brother Jean Widson Beltimor crawls nearby in Bombardopolis, northwestern Haiti. Drought is hitting this region, one of the hungriest, most desolate parts of the most impoverished nation in the hemisphere. Officials hope to tide people over through the rainy season that is supposed to begin in April and until harvest in June.Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

"Families are unable to afford things like seeds for the upcoming agricultural season, school fees and medicine," said Chris Hillbruner, a senior adviser for the network. "It also means that they are facing difficulties meeting their basic food needs."

Image: Farmer Jean Romain Beltinor, 59, works the rocky dirt on his parched hillside to prepare for planting seeds he does not have in Bombardopolis, northwestern Haiti.
Farmer Jean Romain Beltinor, 59, works the rocky dirt on his parched hillside to prepare for planting seeds he does not have in Bombardopolis, northwestern Haiti. After months of drought, the subsistence farmer struggles to find food for his 13 children. To earn a little money, he must turn to cutting what little wood remains for charcoal. (Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

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