The situation in Haiti “has never been so bad”, according to the head of Unicef
photo from listin diario
The Chief of UNICEF, Catherine Russell, expressed deep concern about the dire situation in Haiti and urged the world not to forget the country, which has been devastated by violence. Speaking after her visit to Port-au-Prince, Russell described the “horrors” endured by the Haitian people.
Haiti is facing a humanitarian crisis, with approximately 5.2 million people, half of the population, in need of aid. Among those affected, about 3 million are minors, highlighting the vulnerability of children in the country.
Russell emphasized that violent armed groups currently control over 60% of the capital and significant portions of the agricultural areas. The situation has reached unprecedented levels of hunger, malnutrition, economic paralysis, a resurgence of cholera, and widespread insecurity, which fuels a vicious cycle of violence.
In addition to these challenges, Haiti is prone to floods and earthquakes, highlighting its vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.
The UNICEF chief deplored the use of rape as a weapon of intimidation and control by armed gangs. She shared the heartbreaking story of an 11-year-old girl who was raped by three men while being eight months pregnant during their conversation. Another woman described how armed men broke into her house, raped her, and burned her 20-year-old sister alive before setting their house on fire.
Russell emphasized that women and children are dying, and even places that should provide safety, such as schools and public areas, are no longer secure. She lamented the collective abandonment of the Haitian people by the world and warned that without immediate action, it is difficult to envision a decent future for the population.
Despite the Haitian government’s request for an international intervention force to assist the police, the plea has been largely ignored by the international community.
Russell urged the international community not to stand idle and witness the disintegration of the country, emphasizing that immediate action is necessary to prevent further deterioration of the situation in Haiti.