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United Nations issues urgent appeal as Haiti deteriorates 'day by day'

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2023 | 2:56 PM
Despite the difficulties, UN and NGO officials noted that the humanitarian response continues to intensify and pledged to provide more support to aid workers on the ground. - CMC photo

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – The United Nations and its partners on Sunday issued an urgent appeal for increased humanitarian access and resources for Haiti, stating that the humanitarian situation across the French speaking CARICOM country continues to deteriorate “day by day".

They said this was "due to a spiral of violence, emergencies related to protection, human rights and food insecurity as well as an epidemic of cholera.”

In a statement, following a two day mission, the acting Director of Operations and Advocacy Division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Tareq Talahma said “we cannot let Haiti become a forgotten crisis.”

“The influence of armed gangs is growing exponentially in Port au Prince and beyond including Artibonite department – the country's breadbasket.”

The statement said that six representatives of UN aid agencies and international NGO's met with people affected by the humanitarian crisis, as well as local and international partners, acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry and other government officials. 

The delegation also met with representatives of communities in areas controlled or under the influence of armed gangs. 

“We have appreciated the frank, honest and sometimes uncomfortable discussions with people impacted by the multiple crises in this country, government leaders, UN officials and national international NGOs,” said Mark Smith, World Vision's Vice President of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs.  

For her part, the Chief of the Humanitarian Field Support of UNICEF, Sara Bordas Eddy said “the degradation of humanitarian needs in Haiti is unprecedented. The suffering of a Haitian child today is not comparable to the suffering of a Haitian child a few years ago. As humanitarians, we are funding ways to reach those in need including in gang-controlled areas. For that to happen in a sustainable way, we also need the donor community to not give up on Haiti.”

Despite the difficulties, UN and NGO officials noted that the humanitarian response continues to intensify and pledged to provide more support to aid workers on the ground.

“The population feels desperate, but I also saw the resilience and potential of the women and girls who want to help build a better future for their counties, communities and families,” said Shoko Arakaki, Director of the Humanitarian Response division of UN population. They need urgent health an psychosocial support, but also livelihood and economic empowerment for recovery.”

According to Talahma, this year, the UN and its partners will need US$715 million to help more than three million people.

“This is more than double the sum appealed for last year and the highest amount since the 2010 earthquake – more than just humanitarian assistance, what the people of Haiti need is peace, security and protection,” he said. 

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