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Crisis in Haiti

UNICEF's humanitarian action plan for Haiti focuses on meeting the basic needs of vulnerable children and families.

Those needs are great. Poverty is widespread, with nearly two-thirds of the population living on less than $2 a day. Some 40 percent of the population is food insecure, contributing to high rates of malnutrition among children and heightened health risks. Cholera is once again a major threat amid fuel shortages and a breakdown in essential services as gang violence and insecurity grips the greater Port-au-Prince area.

“When you are unable to get safe drinking water by tap in your own home, when you don’t have soap or water purifying tablets and you have no access to health services, you may not survive cholera or other waterborne diseases,” Bruno Maes, UNICEF Haiti Representative explains.

Multiple crises impacting children and families in Haiti

The country has long dealt with multiple social, political and economic crises, all of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care, including routine immunizations and primary health care services for pregnant women and children, has often been difficult to access. 

Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are a constant threat in Haiti, putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. A major earthquake hit southwestern Haiti on August 14, 2021, affecting an estimated 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children. 

As the number of families migrating from Haiti rises, more children are at risk of becoming separated from their parents.

How UNICEF helps children in Haiti

UNICEF works with partners in Haiti to make sure children are getting the nutrition, health care, education and protection they need to survive and thrive. These efforts include:

  • treating kids for severe acute malnutrition (SAM)
  • immunizing children to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases
  • increasing access to safe water, especially in rural areas
  • installing handwashing stations and otherwise strengthening hygiene practices to boost disease prevention 
  • enrolling children in primary school and distributing learning supplies 
  • providing counseling and emotional support to children involved in child labor and other forms of exploitation and helping them return to school
  • strengthening protections for children at heightened risk of gender-based violence 
  • providing cash transfers to impoverished families 
  • helping to find foster care for orphaned or abandoned children and supporting the reunification of families
  • establishing Child-Friendly Spaces to provide children with a safe environment to learn and play and to receive counseling after disaster strikes

UNICEF has a presence in over 190 countries and territories, working to save and protect vulnerable children. Your support can make a difference