Thursday, July 31, 2008

Desperate Haitians Eating Mud

Source: UPI

People in Haiti have become so desperate for food that many are eating mud, U.N. officials said.

U.N. officials say that food is available in the impoverished Caribbean nation, The Guardian reported. But prices are rising so fast that the Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that food will cost 80 percent more at the end of the year than it did in January.

The high prices come in a country where much of the population is already living on the edge. The United Nations says that two-thirds of Haitians live on less than $1 a day.

In normal times, pregnant women use mud cakes as a source of calcium. Now, they are famine food.

"It stops the hunger," said Marie-Carmelle Baptiste, who makes mud cakes. "You eat them when you have to."

The cakes' raw material comes from a clay deposit outside Port-au-Prince. Baptiste said they have become more expensive to make, but she does not want to raise her prices until she has to because she knows that, for her customers, the cakes are the last resort.