• During the first half of 2019, the security situation in Haiti became more precarious due to the persistent political crisis, social unrest and gang violence. In February 2019, when large-scale demonstrations resulted in a country lock-down, UNICEF supported water trucking for 856 people in children’s homes and detention centres and provided fuel to the Government to maintain water supply for 950,000 people.
• No cholera cases have officially been confirmed since February 2019.
UNICEF's cholera response strategy has been reviewed, reinforcing community-level surveillance and prevention, gradually reducing the number of rapid response teams, and strengthening Ministry of Health capacity.
• The food security and nutrition situation has further worsened during the first semester, with an estimated 29,000 children in urgent need of attention, while UNICEF sectoral response remains drastically underfunded (1.8M USD required and 97% shortfall).
• Due to severe underfunding for child protection (2M USD required and 93% shortfall), protection support to unaccompanied and separated children at the border has been limited.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
1.2 million # of children (<18) in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA HNO 2019)
2.6 million # of people in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA HRP 2019)
350,000 Total people to be reached by UNICEF
143,500 Total children to be reached by UNICEF
UNICEF Appeal 2019 US$ 23,950,000
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The humanitarian situation in Haiti continues to be of concern as children and communities are faced with ongoing crisis including infant mortality, food insecurity and malnutrition, cholera, the Haitian-Dominican migration situation, as well as vulnerability to natural disasters, especially floods, landslides and tropical storms expected during the second semester’s rainy season. The deteriorating political and economic situation has taken a turn for the worse in 2019, severely reducing the average income and purchasing power of Haitian households, especially the most vulnerable. Civil unrest continued, with increasing levels of violence and duration resulting in a 10-day country lock in February, that paralyzed both daily life and economic activity, and impacted humanitarian interventions in the country. x. The depreciation of the national currency (the gourde) reached approximately 40% over a year, fuelling double-digit inflation and further penalizing the poorest households. Furthermore, as stated in the 2019-2020 interagency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP),1 the increased frequency and magnitude of disasters in recent years calls for a greater focus on disaster risk reduction and preparedness measures.
There is mounting evidence that worsening economic conditions and drought are further deteriorating the food security and nutritional status of Haitian children. Between March and June 2019, approximately 2.6 million people were estimated to be food insecure; of those, 2 million were in crisis phase (phase 3) and 571,000 were in emergency phase (phase 4), according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.2 According to nutritional surveillance data from the national health information system (SISNU), Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates have increased in several departments from January to June 2019. At least 39,000 children under five years of age are estimated to suffer from acute malnutrition country wide (13,000 for SAM and 26,000 for MAM) and require curative life-saving interventions through Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM). Despite the increasing needs, the nutrition sector continues to be severely under-resourced with no domestic allocations funds at all and extremely limited donor funding. Over 640,000 people will require access to primary health care, reproductive health and maternal and child health.
The Haitian-Dominican migration situation continues to be of concern as most of the deportees arrive in Haiti under very precarious conditions, without resources and separated from their families. This creates a significant protection challenge, particularly for children who given their legal and social status may not be able to access services and/or are more vulnerable to violence and exploitation3 – 16% of those expelled are under 18 with 42% of them being female.Unofficial deportations of children and/or through one of the 96 unofficial border points fail to meet due process requirements hampering capacity to prove status or identity, and children requiring specific attention are not systematically referred to appropriate services. According to IOM, approximately 10,000 Haitians are deported every month from the Dominican Republic.
In addition to the risks posed to migrant children, the ongoing economic deterioration and political instability in the country along with limited education and work opportunities places adolescents at risk of violence and recruitment by gangs who are gaining traction in urban areas. Haitian children are exposed to multiple protection risks (particularly violence and family separation5 ). Should Haiti be affected by a natural disaster in 2019 these risks will be exacerbated and will necessitate rapid and coordinated response to ensure the protection of children.
Substantial progress continued to be registered in the efforts to combat cholera. There are currently no confirmed cholera cases in the country since February 2019, which is an extremely encouraging development despite the start of the rainy season, when new outbreaks are likely to happen. However, continued vigilance will be required to maintain zero cases over the medium and long terms.