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As part of the UN family of agencies, UNICEF in Haiti is responding to the crisis that has erupted there. Civil disturbance has made social conditions even harder and more uncertain for Haitians.
Haiti Flash Appeal
Haitians are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection following the recent violence. UNICEF is asking donors for $8.7 million dollars of urgent funding for its emergency operation in Haiti. The objective of the Flash Appeal is to respond to urgent and immediate needs of the Haitian population and to quickly establish the basics for rehabilitation of social services and economic recovery.
UNICEF has sent health kits to health centers and hospitals in the metropolitan area, including HIV test kits and prevention kits. Most health centers remain closed or have been deserted since civil unrest intensified in December 2003. A shortage of HIV test kits and the risk of disruption in antiretroviral treatment has been reported.
UNICEF, in coordination with WHO and PAHO, is planning a measles campaign, along with a Vitamin A distribution. Since December 2003, routine immunisation activities have been curtailed because of a decreasing vaccine stockpile.
Temporary schools in tents have been set up for children. UNICEF has also distributed Edukits to children. Schools have been closed or operating irregularly for several months now. In the central district of Artibonite, more than 100,000 children have not been able to attend school since September 2003. Without the sanctuary of school, school children are seen at home or in the streets, increasing the risk of juvenile delinquency, involvement in the current surge of violence, rape, and exploitation. According to reports, at least one street child is killed in the streets of Port-au-Prince each week. Additionally, children are being used in the armed conflict, mainly in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien and Gonaives.
UNICEF has also sent midwife kits to the main maternity hospitals. The number of women going to maternity hospitals has decreased because they cannot afford the hospital fees. Girls are increasingly victims of sexual violence. The crisis has worsened the incidence of rape and unwanted pregnancies.
For further information, please contact:
Gordon Weiss, UNICEF Media, New York, 212-326-7426