Humanitarian crisis deepens in Haiti calling for immediate aid

14 March 2024

Children are at risk in Haiti. We're calling for immediate aid as an increase in violence displaces even more people from their homes.

We are deeply concerned by the significant increase in violence in Haiti. Gang violence has now displaced more than 362,000 people from their homes, a figure that has increased by 15,000 in just 10 days. Of those displaced from their homes, one in three (32%) are children and adolescents.

Essential services, such as health care, access to clean water and basic relief supplies, have been significantly disrupted due to continued fighting, attacks on critical infrastructure, and restrictions on humanitarian access imposed by armed groups. Urgent action is needed to save lives and protect the human rights of the Haitian population, especially those most vulnerable to violence, such as children, youth and women. 

“In the face of deteriorating security conditions and increasing violence, Plan International reiterates that Haiti remains a forgotten crisis for the international community at large, and calls for increased efforts and support to address the urgent humanitarian needs of its population” said Allassane Drabo, Country Director of Plan International Haiti.  

Plan International and several partner organisations have observed with concern the rapid and alarming increase of unaccompanied children arriving in camps for internally displaced people, as most of their parents or caregivers have been killed during the clashes. This situation requires immediate attention and response. 

Girls are at risk of violence

Haiti’s humanitarian crisis is also placing girls at risk of gender-based violence, recruitment by armed groups, and child early and forced marriage and unions. This exacerbates the vulnerabilities faced by girls, who are disproportionately affected by the escalation in violence and its consequences. 

It is imperative that safe and uninterrupted access routes to communities are established and that all attacks and looting of the ports cease. These are the only entry points for humanitarian aid and for the transport of food and medical supplies from Port-au-Prince to other parts of the country where the demand is high, such as the Northeast and Artibonite departments. Blockades and arbitrary denials of aid must cease immediately and the safety of humanitarian workers must be ensured in compliance with International Humanitarian Law.  

Children’s urgent needs must be considered

Protecting all children and adolescent girls must be a priority and their specific needs must be considered at the core of any humanitarian response. Plan International reiterates the importance of access to clean water, medical care and psychosocial support. 

With Haiti’s Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) only funded by 3.2%, Plan International urges donors to increase their financial commitments to avert an even greater catastrophe. Before the increase in violence, it had already been estimated that this year,5.5 million people in Haiti would need humanitarian assistance, 48% of whom are children and adolescents. Recent events have undoubtedly worsened the situation in the country and there is a high risk that the upcoming hurricane season will create even more humanitarian need. 

“We urge our partners in Haiti to prioritize protecting children and youth, especially those displaced or affected by violence. Girls, at high risk of sexual gender-based violence, need urgent access to water, medical care, and psychological support,” concluded Drabo.