147.1 Features of child food insecurity after the 2010 Haiti earthquake: Results from a longitudinal random survey of households

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 12:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Eileen TRZCINSKI , Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Royce HUTSON , School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Athena KOLBE , Political Science, University of Michigan
Harry SHANNON , McMaster University, Canada
Leah JAMES , University of Michigan
Background: Recent commentary on the health consequences of natural disasters has suggested a dearth of research on understanding the antecedents to victimization.   We assessed data on child food security from a two-wave panel survey of Port-au-Prince, Haiti residents conducted just prior to and six weeks after the January 2010 earthquake.

Methods: Using random Global Positioning System (GPS) sampling, we interviewed 93.1% (N = 1732) of the original 1,800 households interviewed in 2009 in the six week survey after the earthquake.  Respondents were queried with regard to mortalities, injuries, food security, housing, and other factors for them and their households.  Researchers sought to understand the antecedents to child food insecurity after the quake.

Findings: Findings suggest that several household characteristics were associated with food insecurity for children.  School attendance of children before the quake, prior chronic/acute illnesses  in the household before the quake, poor living conditions, remittances from abroad, primary respondent mental health, and histories of criminal and other human rights violations committed against family members prior to the quake were shown to be associated with food insecurity after the earthquake.  Earned household income was only associated with one of the measures of food insecurity.

Interpretation: Food insecurity for children was common after the quake.  It appears that those households vulnerable on multiple dimensions prior to the quake were also vulnerable to food insecurity after the quake.  Remittances from abroad were one of the leading protective factors against food insecurity.  Reconstruction and redevelopment should focus on ameliorating potential vulnerabilities to poor outcomes in natural disasters because Haiti is well known for the potentiality of both hurricanes and earthquakes.