PORT-AU-PRINCE / PANAMA CITY, 7 September 2021 – UNICEF is urgently seeking US$122.2 million to meet the humanitarian needs of 1.6 million people including 800,000 children in Haiti. This new appeal is nearly three times higher than the original emergency funding requested for Haiti at the start of the year.
“Haiti is facing one of its most complex humanitarian crises in recent years,” said UNICEF Haiti Representative Bruno Maes. “Before the earthquake, children were already suffering from high rates of malnutrition, displacement caused by gang-related violence and the secondary impacts of COVID-19. But right now, the humanitarian needs of Haitian children are more acute than ever as entire families have lost everything, including houses, schools, access to water and health facilities. Many human lives depend on how much humanitarian aid we will be able to provide – and how quickly.”
On 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern departments of Sud, Grand’ Anse, and Nippes, compounded on 16 August by heavy rains from tropical depression Grace. Over 2,200 people died, 12,200 people were injured, and 130,000 homes destroyed, putting thousands of people in urgent need of assistance. These disasters struck Haiti as the country was reeling from the assassination on 7 July of President Jovenel Moïse and an escalation of gang violence that displaced 19,000 people and affected 1.5 million people.
The Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) released in March 2021 estimated that 4.4 million people were food insecure, 217,000 children suffered from global acute malnutrition, and 2.95 million people, including 1.2 million children and 400,000 pregnant women and adolescent girls, required emergency health care. The effects of the recent earthquake are expected to further exacerbate these vulnerabilities.
UNICEF’s priority is to respond to urgent needs:
The health systems in the three departments affected by the earthquake face challenges in meeting growing health needs, while maintaining access to life-saving health and nutrition services, including maternal and child health care.
With thousands of displaced people sleeping in the open and water and sanitation infrastructure suffering extensive damage, vulnerable populations are increasingly exposed to the risks of waterborne diseases and acute respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
Over the past two years, more than 3 million children could not attend school for months at a time, due to political and security challenges, as well as COVID-19 related lockdowns. In earthquake affected areas, preliminary assessments led by the Ministry of Education indicate hundreds of schools had either been destroyed or heavily damaged, affecting an estimated 100,000 children. “As schools open this September in Haiti, it will be a big challenge for thousands of children to resume their education in the earthquake-struck regions. Along with the Ministry of Education, our teams on the ground are working against the clock to install temporary learning spaces. Children and teachers need equipment, materials and psychosocial support to overcome the traumatic experiences they have been through,” Maes said.
At the onset of the earthquake, UNICEF delivered essential medical supplies to the main hospitals in the south to reach 30,000 people over two months. UNICEF has also already provided clean water and hygiene and sanitation items to over 108,000 affected women and children.
In response to the earthquake, UNICEF is requesting a total of US$122.2 million to scale up its emergency interventions in Haiti this year. So far, less than 32 per cent of this required funding has been received.
Alongside its partners and the Government of Haiti, UNICEF is planning to provide humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the recent earthquake and other vulnerable populations across the country, including:
114,000 children with severe or moderate acute malnutrition treated and 62,000 primary caregivers receiving infant and young child feeding counselling
251,000 children and women accessing primary healthcare in UNICEF-supported facilities, 35,000 children under the age of 1 vaccinated against measles, 37,000 pregnant women attending at least two prenatal visits, and 3,000 health workers trained in infection prevention and control (IPC)and provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).
692,000 people accessing safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene and following handwashing behaviour change programmes, 278,000 people using adequate sanitation facilities and 690,000 people being able to face shocks through disaster preparedness activities
1.5 million people accessing safe channels to report sexual exploitation and abuse, 58,000 children and caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support, 40,000 women, girls and boys accessing gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions, and 2,650 unaccompanied and separated children being reunified with their families or provided with family-based care services
580,000 children accessing formal or non-formal education and receiving individual learning materials and earthquake-affected vulnerable households of 100,000 children receiving cash transfers for education
20,000 households being reached with humanitarian cash transfers and 95 per cent of cholera suspected cases (including ‘other acute diarrhoea’ cases) being identified and responded to within 48 hours with a complete water, sanitation, and hygiene package
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