World News

Haiti food crisis shows need for action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The situation in Haiti, where the government fell on Saturday after more than a week of food riots, highlights the need for action to deal with soaring global food prices, the World Bank said on Saturday.

“It is important that the international community responds quickly,” Yvonne Tsikata, the World Bank’s country director for the Caribbean, said in a statement.

The Haitian Senate on Saturday fired Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, ignoring an emergency plan by President Rene Preval to slash the rising cost of rice.

“President Preval has shown a strong commitment to political inclusion, stability and to economic and social development, and we have every confidence that this will continue,” Tsikata added.

She said the World Bank still planned to provide $10 million in grant handouts to Haiti for school lunches and work programs and other measures to mitigate food price increases.

The development agency also said it planned to help Haiti develop a medium-term strategy to improve food security.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has called for a coordinated global response to tackle the rise in the price of food during weekend meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Rising food prices and an associated increase in inflation have caused shortages of staples in developing countries and prompted riots in countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Peter Cooney