Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- The humanitarian situation in Haiti stems from ongoing challenges and recurring crises fueled by prolonged political turmoil, disease outbreaks, natural disasters and escalating armed violence, which have led to chronic and acute humanitarian needs, including hunger, malnutrition, and gender-based violence which have reached unprecedented levels. Three million children need humanitarian and protection assistance, and many more may fall in need if unattended or if new shocks hit the country.
- UNICEF is scaling up its response, in line with the UN system-wide scale-up activation, providing support to the Government, to ensure access to and continuity of basic services for the most vulnerable, while contributing to humanitarian, development/peacebuilding nexus strategies. UNICEF provides water, sanitation, and hygiene, education, health, nutrition, child protection and social protection services, supports cholera rapid-response teams, and maintains work in disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness.
- UNICEF requests US$245.9 million to meet humanitarian needs in 2023.
Key planned results for 2023
115,602 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
205,200 children and parents/caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
1.1 million children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning
1.5 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
The humanitarian situation in Haiti stems from ongoing challenges and recurring crises that lead to chronic and acute humanitarian needs. In 2023, over 5.2 million Haitians, nearly half of the population, will need humanitarian assistance and protection. Thousands of other highly vulnerable people may fall in need shortly if the situation continues to deteriorate or in case of new shocks. The compounded crises have differentiated impacts on distinct groups and regions: urban populations entrapped by armed violence; families displaced by violence; food insecure and marginalized communities outside the capital; and repatriated migrants. The influence of armed groups has increased, coupled with severe human rights violations. Attacks on medical and educational assets are rising, including a nine-fold increase in armed violence against schools. Access to education and health services for at least 1.5 million people has been restricted, while UN agencies and non-governmental organizations have been targets of violent lootings. In April 2023, a civilian-led vigilante movement emerged, targeting and publicly executing members of armed groups. Children bear the brunt of the deteriorating security, economic and social situation, especially those living in violence-affected areas, and repatriated migrants. At least 128,000 people are internally displaced in the Port-Au-Prince Metropolitan Area, of which 38 per cent live in spontaneous sites and 62 per cent in host communities, including many unaccompanied children exposed to abuse, exploitation and violence.
Catastrophic levels of food insecurity were recorded for the first time in 2022, and a staggering 30 per cent more children are projected to suffer from severe wasting this year, per the 2023 SMART survey. An estimated 115,600 children could be severely wasted in 2023, compared to 87,500 in 2022. In addition, nearly one in four children in Haiti suffer from chronic malnutrition (or stunting), a condition with long-term developmental and survival consequences.
The crisis is exacerbated by the cholera epidemic that resurfaced in Cité Soleil in October 2022 and has spread across the country. As of May 2023, over 42,350 suspected cases have been reported, almost half of them among children under the age of 14. Access to water is a major challenge and cause of the spread of cholera. As the disease ravages violence-ridden neighbourhoods, cholera and malnutrition pose a double burden that the national health system is unable to address.
Reconstruction efforts following the 2021 earthquake are limited and Haiti remains extremely susceptible to natural hazards.
Addressing the complex needs of affected populations will require a multi-sectoral, country-wide approach that goes beyond immediate relief, towards a more comprehensive response that supports recovery and resilience.
In the current context, UNICEF, in collaboration with Government and partners, is scaling up the immediate humanitarian response to save lives, while contributing to build capacities and effective nexus strategies to be sustained over the mid-long term.
UNICEF is scaling up the humanitarian response while tailoring interventions to address the differentiated needs of specific population groups (including those affected by armed violence, IDPs, repatriated migrants, and other affected populations outside of the capital). UNICEF is responding to protection, cholera and malnutrition in areas at risk of systems collapse through increased support to teachers, doctors and health workers. In urban areas affected by violence and displacement, UNICEF is assisting IDPs through mobile teams, supplies, community engagement and social cohesion. To better address the needs of people trapped in areas controlled by armed groups, UNICEF is investing in access capacity.
The cholera response includes case area targeted interventions (CATI), community sensitization and WASH shield response, preventing waterborne and infectious diseases, and support to treatment centres. WASH interventions focus on expanding access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services through trucking, household water treatment, rehabilitation of infrastructure, waste disposal, hygiene promotion and supplies.
UNICEF supports continued access to essential maternal and child health care services, immunization, and will reinforce health supply chain management.
UNICEF is adapting its nutrition response based on the findings of the January 2023 SMART survey by scaling up treatment of severe wasting and infant and young child feeding practices while strengthening monitoring and information management.
UNICEF promotes safe access to learning through school supplies, multiple education pathways, psychosocial support and disaster risk prevention, and cash grants will be provided to families that enroll vulnerable children. Education will be a gateway to strengthen social cohesion and promote peacebuilding.
UNICEF will support the national social protection system to scale up humanitarian cash transfers towards improving access to basic goods and services in hard-to-reach communities entrapped by armed violence. The protection of children exposed to violence, exploitation and family separation, notably IDPs and migrants, is a priority, and specialized services and community-based structures will help identify vulnerable children and provide care and referrals.
Following the declaration of a UN system-wide scale up, UNICEF is supporting the Government and strengthening national coordination by co-leading the Education and Nutrition Clusters, the Child Protection Sub-Cluster and the WASH sector. UNICEF co-leads the cholera response with the Government, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.
While working with partners to address immediate needs and prevent that more Haitians fall into humanitarian needs, UNICEF will contribute to advocacy efforts with key stakeholders for coherent and comprehensive actions to address the root causes of Haiti’s crisis.
Additional priorities include contingency planning, positioning supplies and community mobilization to foster social and behavioural change. Gender equality and accountability to affected populations will be mainstreamed. To help prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, child-friendly awareness-raising material and reporting channels will be disseminated.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Haiti; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.