UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Months-long political protests and unrest are aggravating the food insecurity in Haiti, with 3.7 million people already at crisis level, a United Nations spokesman said on Monday.
"Most businesses and schools in the country have been closed since mid-September, due to ongoing protests and unrest," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "Food insecurity is on the rise."
"According to the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) report, 3.7 million people are currently experiencing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity," Dujarric said. "This includes 1 million people -- out of a total population of 11 million -- facing emergency levels of food insecurity."
The IPC is a global system for classifying food insecurity and malnutrition and identifying their causes.
Assessments indicate that the food insecurity situation could affect more than 4 million people in Haiti by March of next year, the spokesman said.
The World Food Programme is working to set up a humanitarian air service, using a 1-million-U.S.-dollar allocation from the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund Rapid Response plan to gain access to people in need, he said.
However, a lack of funding has undermined the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance to the most vulnerable, Dujarric said.
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti, estimated at 126 million dollars, is only funded at 29 percent so far.
The paralyzing protests in Haiti began in February. Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over alleged economic mismanagement and the government's failure to investigate allegations of corruption.