COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami) — A humanitarian crisis has emerged in the southern peninsula of Haiti, months after Hurricane Matthew ravaged the country.
Charity group Food for the Poor discovered 240 people, including 84 women and 62 children, living in a cave in the rugged mountains near Fonds Rouge Dahere.
The organization said they were found by the charity’s agricultural director while scouting for suitable land to grow food. Families took refuge inside the cave after the hurricane tore apart their communities.
“Even in their desperate condition, parents and children were heard singing hymns,” the charity said in a statement to the media.
“When I enter into the cave and I saw the people singing, they’re singing ‘Jesus is our good friend,'” said Oyama Romain. “I see a lot of children in the bottom of the cave. It was a heartbreaking thing.”
Food for the Poor has launched a campaign to build them homes and provide relief, including food, blankets, hygiene kits, kerosene stoves and tarps.
Last fall, The New York Times reported a similar case of 500 people living in caves in southwest Haiti due to the destruction of Hurricane Matthew.
“This latest crisis comes on the heels of a severe food shortage in the Grand’Anse region,” said Food for the Poor. “Last week, Food for the Poor announced it was sending an additional 100 containers of food a month for the next four months to keep people from starving in the area.”
At least 13 people in the region have died in the last week. The charity group added that the food shortage has become so severe that “families are turning in desperation to fruits and foliage known to be poisonous in an attempt to quell their hunger.”