The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) claimed that in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, children´s lives in Haiti have been increasingly affected by rising violence, a lack of access to nutrition services and clean water, as well as extreme weather conditions including hurricanes.
UNICEF has reported the disruption of health services since the global health crisis began last year, along with a sharp decline in child vaccinations linked to parental concerns.
This has left fewer than one in 10 children in Haiti utterly unvaccinated and nearly six in 10 insufficiently protected, said UNICEF, detailing that of those who are not fully vaccinated, four in 10 live mostly in impoverished urban settings which are characterized by lack of access to essential services and violence.
The latest food insecurity data indicated that one in four Haitians is acutely hungry. About 4.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure today, including 1.9 million children, UNICEF said, adding that the upcoming hurricane season is likely to worsen the access to nutritious food in the coming months.
‘Severe acute malnutrition can and should be treated right now to save children´s lives in Haiti,’ stressed Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, at the end of a week-long visit to the country.
‘We cannot look the other way and ignore one of the least funded humanitarian crises in the region. Without additional, urgent funding in the next few weeks, the life-saving treatment we are providing against malnutrition will be discontinued and some children will be at risk of dying,’ Gough added.
The agency has requested US$3 million to purchase essential supplies and medicine and carry out preventive and treatment programs, warning that without these funds, thousands of Haitian children will no longer receive life-saving assistance.
mh/pll/msm / crc