Earthquakes, droughts, floods, tsunamis, crop failures, wars—these are the events that capture the eyes and hearts of many and move us to respond immediately from a position of compassion and caring.
First-response needs are often shelter, water, sanitation, medical care, and emergency food supplies. But what happens next, after the images of the crisis fade from public view? Typically, people are still left as victims of trauma, many with damaged homes, incomes, and lives. Food supplies are short and prices spike such that people cannot afford to eat.
Early recovery is the term used to describe efforts to move from immediate disaster relief into community self-reliance. The goal is to progress not only back to “normal life” but beyond to a state of greater resiliency to any future disasters.
SPI has provided seeds for post-disaster gardening efforts in many places, such as:
- Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake and 2012 floods.
- Central African Republic, in response to recent war and displacement.
- Liberia, in recovering from Ebola. Home gardens are a good strategy during an epidemic because the alternative of people gathering in lines daily or weekly to receive food will spread disease.
- DR Congo, where gardens were combined with aid for sexual violence survivors following brutal ethnic conflict.
Vegetable gardens give quicker food from a local source when main-crop harvests are lost to a disaster. When other types of aid are giving only starchy foods to fill bellies, vegetables give needed micronutrients. When men are displaced or distracted by crisis, vegetable gardens may grow in importance as a food source – they are traditionally grown in small plots close to the home, easily accessible by women while completing other tasks.
Liberia was recently declared Ebola-free, but it’s a great example of a place where the real struggle starts after the news camera pack up and leave. The UN World Food Program projects that, in the end, more lives will be lost to food shortage than to the disease itself. Help us today to support the Liberian people’s early recovery efforts. SPI is working with partners on the ground to ensure all have enough food to stay alive and well in coming months.