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40 Hour Famine will help starving in Haiti

40 Hour Famine will help starving in Haiti

World Vision today committed a minimum of NZ$50,000 from the upcoming 40 Hour Famine to address serious food and medical shortages in war-ravaged Haiti.

The 40 Hour Famine runs from 19-21 March and will assist children hurt by war. Individuals can also support the agency's work in Haiti by phoning 0800 80 2000.

World Vision executive director Helen Green said today Haiti was one of the neediest countries in the world with millions suffering malnutrition and poor access to water and sanitation.

Already World Vision runs a major food aid programme in the country feeding 125,000 people.

"The present violent crisis has made the situation much worse. Prices for basic foodstuffs in the markets have skyrocketed. People our staff have spoken to say they can no longer afford to eat or feed their children," Mrs Green said.

Meanwhile World Vision staff are vowing to remain at their posts in Haiti as desperate crowds rush airline counters in a bid to get flights out of the country.

Tensions in the capital Port au Prince boiled over last night with sporadic gunfire echoing around the city, rioting at the national palace and looting and torching of city shops.

World Vision communications manager Kate Scannell Michel speaking from the capital today said despite the chaos staff would stay.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled during the melee on an unmarked plane to an unknown destination.

His replacement is Boniface Alexandre a chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Ms Scannell said the swearing in of Alexandre was a source of optimism for many Haitians.

"He is seen as an honest and respected man but everybody is still waiting to see what is going to happen. We will see how things play out over the next few days," she said.

World Vision will continue plans to distribute essential medicines as soon as the security of roads and airports improves. World Vision assessments in northern and central areas of Haiti have exposed serious shortages of essentials such as vaccines, surgical gloves and antibiotics.

Those wishing to support World Vision's work in Haiti can do so by phoning: 0800 80 2000

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