NEW YORK (September 8, 2021) – UNICEF is urgently seeking $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 August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern departments of Sud, Grand’ Anse, and Nippes, compounded on August 16 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 July 7 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 safe 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 $122.2 million to scale up its emergency interventions in Haiti this year. So far, less than 32 percent of this required funding has been received.
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children. Together, we are working toward a world that upholds the rights of all children and helps every child thrive. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.