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Children in Haiti are currently dealing with a combination of three major challenges: insecurity, malnutrition, and disease.
Americas World News

Children in Haiti are currently dealing with a combination of three major challenges: insecurity, malnutrition, and disease.

In 2023, more than five million people in Haiti, with a notable three million being children, will require assistance from humanitarian organizations.

According to UNICEF, approximately five million people are experiencing severe hunger. This dire situation is causing fear and destruction for children, families, and communities, with malnutrition and a resurgence of cholera exacerbating the crisis.

Between July 20th and August 31st, Haiti had one of the highest number of reported cholera cases worldwide. The area most severely impacted overall was Artibonite.

Untenable situation

The current state of insecurity has created significant obstacles for humanitarian workers, making it extremely challenging, and in some situations, unfeasible to reach six out of the 17 communes in the department. These include Saint Marc, Verrettes, and Petite Rivière, which are known for their high rates of cholera and where certain families are essentially trapped by ongoing violence.

Due to safety concerns, two out of the three major water treatment facilities in Artibonite have ceased operation. The remaining plant is also struggling with difficulties in distributing water.


Violence, lack of necessities, and disorderliness are

UNICEF reports that malnourished children are at high risk of death due to a combination of factors including increased insecurity, limited access to vital healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and the presence of cholera.

According to the agency, approximately 115,000 children in Haiti are projected to experience life-threatening malnutrition this year, which is a 30% rise from 2022. The agency also mentioned that in Artibonite, the number of children requiring urgent treatment has more than doubled since 2020.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, who serves as the designated Principal Advocate for Haiti for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, a coalition of humanitarians, stated that no individual, especially a child, should ever have to endure the inhumane acts of brutality, deprivation, and disregard for law. The present circumstances are completely unacceptable.

Security-related challenges

According to UNICEF, more than 100 schools have closed because of safety concerns and only 25% of health facilities in the area are currently accessible due to security issues. This means that approximately 30% of the population, with almost half of them being children, are now in need of humanitarian aid.

Intense acts of aggression, resembling those witnessed in Port-au-Prince, have resulted in the forced displacement of families and caused disruptions in rice and agricultural production, which is crucial for the economy. As of June, the number of displaced individuals has increased to over 22,000 from less than 10,000 in April.

The majority of individuals have sought safety within host communities, while hundreds are living in temporary and unstable shelters with limited access to essential resources or defense against armed groups, as reported by the United Nations agency.

Seeking refuge

Mr. Russell stated that the humanitarian system, including UNICEF, is currently providing and expanding their efforts to assist Haitian children and families in need. However, he emphasized the need for support from the international community to effectively reach those who are in desperate need of help at this time.

According to the most recent report by UNICEF, there were 60 fatalities or injuries during the months of May and June 2023 due to conflicts over land and resources between armed factions. This is a significant increase from the previous year, which only saw four such incidents during the same time period.

Around 50% of the 298 abductions that occurred in the country during that time occurred in Bas Artibonite, or the southern part of Artibonite. These incidents primarily involved civilians who were traveling on public transportation.

According to UNICEF, a group of 15 women who were on their way to the market were allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted in one instance.

This week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution for the establishment of a multinational security support mission for one year in order to address the lack of security for civilians in Haiti.

UNICEF stated that in order to preserve the safety of individuals in danger, additional precautions must be taken to maintain humanitarian areas.