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Haiti: Sweet, Nutritious Porridge Keeps Kids Cheerful

In the coastal town of Jacmel, south of Port-au-Prince, WFP is providing hot meals for an average 24,000 people each day through a network of field kitchens. Children are receiving a nutritional boost with an extra daily meal of WFP’s vitamin-rich porridge -- which they seem to love!

JACMEL -- On the sidelines of the Pinchinat football field, now home to the largest group of displaced people in Jacmel, there are broad smiles and giggles as children join the breakfast queue.

As well as one hot meal each day, WFP is providing some 2,000 children in the city with an extra nutritional boost through servings of porridge made from corn-soya blend – a maize-based flour fortified with vitamins and minerals.

A sweet start

“They love the porridge,” says Hazem El Zein, Head of Programme for WFP in Jacmel. “We make sure there’s plenty of sugar in it, they like it sweet.”

Many of the youngsters sit on old school benches salvaged from the nearby school .The breakfast of porridge is in addition to delivery of a daily hot meal of beans and rice to 24,000 people across the city.

WFP was operational in record time in Jacmel. Some 3,500 fortified biscuits were handed out at the airfield on the evening of the earthquake which killed hundreds and left at least 15,000 people homeless.

Kitchens across Jacmel

Now 33 field kitchens are operating, one near each assembly point where displaced people settled.

“The children are the first to be served when the afternoon meal is ready,” says Hazem. “Then come the women, the elderly and the young men.”

The food distributions are organised by the local authorities, local aid groups, a troop of scouts and the Canadian military, who oversee the area’s medical, water, sanitation and security needs. United Nations police and members of the local Sri Lankan battalion assist with security at the distributions.

WFP is also feeding hospital patients and residents of orphanages and childrens homes in Jacmel, and stocks of  rice and beans for WFP’s pre-existing school meals programme are being diverted to the affected inhabitants of outlying areas.

(All photos: Copyright WFP/David Orr)