The 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Haiti on 14 August has further exacerbated an already challenging humanitarian situation shaped by persistent political instability, socioeconomic crisis and rising food insecurity and malnutrition, gang-related insecurity and internal displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Haitian-Dominican migration situation.
In response, UNICEF Haiti is supporting the Government and humanitarian partners to ensure the continuity of basic services, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health, nutrition, child protection and social protection services, while facilitating disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, and interventions to address violence against children as well as gender-based violence and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF is requesting US$122.2 million to meet the humanitarian needs of Haitian children and their families. This includes US$ 73.3 million for the earthquake response and US$48.9 million to cover other humanitarian needs in the country.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
Humanitarian needs are rapidly growing in the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti on 14 August 20216 ; the three most affected departments include Sud, Grand’Anse, and Nippes. The earthquake's devastating impact was later compounded with heavy rains from tropical depression Grace on 17 August.
While assessments are still in progress, official reports indicate more than 2,200 deaths, more than 12,000 people injured, and 130,000 homes destroyed,7 rendering thousands homeless and in urgent need of assistance.8 These disasters come as Haiti continues to reel from the 7 July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the escalation of gang violence that has affected 1.5 million people and displaced 19,000 people since June 2021. Despite negotiation of a humanitarian corridor with armed gangs to access the road connecting the capital Port au Prince to the South, access constraints remain a key challenge facing humanitarian partners.
The Haitian-Dominican migration dynamic remains a concern due to increased numbers of Haitian returnees along the border over recent years.9
The combined impact of natural hazard-related disasters, persistent political and socioeconomic crisis, gang-related insecurity and internal displacement, as well as COVID-19 is being felt by the most vulnerable. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) 2021 released before the earthquake, an estimated 4.4 million people in Haiti10 were food insecure and an estimated 217,000 children were suffering from global acute malnutrition, an estimated 2.95 million people, including 1.2 million children and 400,000 pregnant women and adolescent girls required emergency health care; the earthquake’s impacts are likely to exacerbate these vulnerabilities.11
With health systems in the three hardest-hit departments facing challenges in keeping pace with the exponential widening of health needs, maintaining access to life-saving assistance and the continuation of other essential health services, including maternal and child health, is a critical response priority.
Access to safe water for consumption, sanitation services and hygiene promotion remains a significant need. With thousands displaced and sleeping in the streets and water and sanitation infrastructure suffering extensive damage, vulnerable populations are becoming increasingly exposed to the risk of waterborne diseases,13 and acute respiratory infections, including COVID-19.14 Over 3 million children have already been unable to attend school for months at a time, due to political and security challenges over the past two years, as well as COVID-19 related lockdowns.15 In earthquake affected areas, preliminary assessments led by the Ministry of Education indicate extensive damage across schools,16 affecting an estimated 100,000