UN humanitarian agencies “ready to provide assistance” to communities affected by gang violence in Haiti
15 July 2022
PORT-AU-PRINCE, 15 July 2022
United Nations humanitarian agencies in Haiti are “ready to provide assistance” to communities caught in the crossfire of gang violence “as soon as they can gain access to the affected people.”
A recent upsurge in fighting between rival gangs in the Cité Soleil neighbourhood of the capital Port-au-Prince has led to the deaths of 99 people with 135 injured according to data reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Haiti.
In less than one week and according to a report released by OCHA covering 7 to14 July, at least 2,500 people have also been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting. Twenty people have been reported missing. Every day, with continued fighting, more people will suffer and be forced to flee, often risking their lives.
Cité Soleil, with a population of around 300,000 is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Haitian capital, where gangs have gained more influence over the past several years. OCHA said that “a large proportion of the population are trapped in Cité Soleil as gangs attempt to exert their influence,” adding that “the people in some areas have not had access to food or water since July 8.” One child in five is suffering from severe malnutrition “a rate well above emergency thresholds.”
“As people continue to suffer in Cité Soleil, insecurity is preventing humanitarian agencies from entering the area,” said Ulrika Richardson, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, the organization’s most senior humanitarian official in Haiti. “The UN is ready to provide assistance to the many children, women and men caught in the crossfire of gang violence as soon as humanitarian partners can gain access to the affected zones.”
‘The people of Cité Soleil are amongst the most impacted by the current waves of violence in Haiti,” she added, “and they desperately need support at this difficult time, particularly the children who increasingly suffer acute malnutrition, as well as the many women and girls who are raped and boys who are being mobilised by the gangs.”
Cité Soleil is not the only neighbourhood where gangs are able to operate with impunity. OCHA estimates that approximately 1.5 million people, or nearly 50% of the capital's population, are directly affected by violence, with restricted freedom of movement and a lack of access to basic services.
Half a million children in the capital are also reportedly out of school due to insecurity, according to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
United Nations agencies continue to support the most vulnerable Haitians in Port-au-Prince. In 2022, the World Food Programme (WFP) has assisted more than 62,000 people with emergency cash assistance of US$ 4.1 million targeting a total of 207,000 people in the metropolitan area. Since Mid-May, WFP has served displaced populations with 44,000 hot meals. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided assistance to some 19,000 people.
UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Education in the reopening of schools in vulnerable areas such as Martissant, La Saline, Cité Soleil, Bas-Delmas, Bel and Tabarre by distributing thousands of school kits and materials to students, and by facilitating catch-up courses for high school students in sensitive areas to compensate the loss of many months of lessons.
For more information, contact: Daniel Dickinson, Communications Officer, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. firstname.lastname@example.org +509 4638 6636