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.
- Haiti is facing multiple crises, including growing socio-political instability and deteriorating economic conditions, rising food insecurity and malnutrition, the Haitian-Dominican migration dynamic, waterborne disease epidemics, and high vulnerability to natural hazards, all of which have been further exacerbated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
- In response, UNICEF will support the continuity of basic services, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health, nutrition, child protection and social protection services. UNICEF will also facilitate disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, and interventions to address gender-based violence and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- UNICEF is requesting US$75 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Haiti, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and address the negative socio-economic impacts of confinement measures and the economic lockdown. This includes US$36 million for the education response and US$11.5 million for the WASH response.
Key planned results for 2021
51,010 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
203,500 children and women accessing health care
376,051 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
1.2 million children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Haiti continues to face multiple crises, including growing socio-political instability and deteriorating economic conditions, rising food insecurity and malnutrition, waterborne disease epidemics, the Haitian-Dominican migration dynamic, and high vulnerability to natural hazards, all of which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deteriorating economic conditions resulting from confinement measures are putting greater pressure on the livelihoods of vulnerable families, depleting their financial resources and exacerbating existing humanitarian needs. An estimated 4.1 million Haitians (nearly 40 per cent of the population) are food insecure, and an estimated 168,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, particularly in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince. An estimated 2.3 million people – including 1 million children and 315,000 pregnant women and adolescent girls – require emergency health care, which has become difficult to access to due COVID-19. Access to WASH services remains limited, heightening the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks.
In addition to the 60 school days that students lost during the national lockdowns that took place between September and November 2019, 4 million children missed out on learning during the four-month COVID-19 school closures. As a result, most schoolchildren have lost out on an entire year of education. Although all schools reopened by mid-August with sanitary protocols, a significant number of children are at risk of falling behind on their learning and dropping out of school altogether.
Limited access to basic social services due to shutdowns and the interruption of routine health services and psychosocial and recreation activities have increased children's risks of abuse, exploitation and violence, including gender-based violence. Children in institutions and in detention may be vulnerable to the rapid spread of the virus if appropriate hygiene and prevention measures are not established.
The Haitian-Dominican migration dynamic remains a concern, as increased numbers of Haitian returnees have been observed at the border. An estimated 200,000 crossings have been reported since mid-March. Many of the returning children arrive in Haiti under precarious conditions, without resources and separated from their families.
The cholera epidemic is now coming to an end, with no cases confirmed since February 2019. However, prevention, surveillance and alert response efforts must be maintained to keep the number of cases at zero and officially declare the end of the epidemic by 2022.
In 2021, UNICEF will continue to meet the basic needs of vulnerable children and communities in Haiti. UNICEF will build on its strong field presence to support the continuity of essential health, nutrition, WASH, education and child protection services, and strengthen disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness in all sectors.
In line with the Government of Haiti’s response to COVID-19 and relevant inter-agency planning, UNICEF will maintain its multi-sectoral support for risk communication and community engagement, surveillance and coordination, as well as WASH prevention and rapid response. These same actions and partners will support the anticipated phase out of the cholera response plan in February 2022.
UNICEF will support continued access to essential health care services, including immunization, prenatal and postnatal care, and HIV response care. A key focus will be on strengthening the health system to increase health centre capacities to provide appropriate care in the most affected and vulnerable communities. National and local capacities will also be strengthened to manage acute malnutrition and infant and young child feeding services, and prevent micronutrient deficiencies.
In education, UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education to coordinate the response and conduct real-time monitoring, focusing on ensuring the availability of distance learning programmes, and access to these programmes among vulnerable children during present and future school interruptions. Protection assistance will be provided to children exposed to violence, including gender-based violence, exploitation and family separation. UNICEF will focus on strengthening psychosocial response capacities for children in the urban areas of Port-au-Prince that have been significantly affected by COVID-19.
To mitigate the negative socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, UNICEF will strengthen shock-responsive social protection mechanisms, focusing on emergency cash transfers to help the most vulnerable families make ends meet. The Government and sector and inter-agency partners will be supported to strengthen humanitarian coordination and disaster preparedness and response, focusing on strengthening the linkages between humanitarian action and development programmes, long-term system strengthening and capacity building and mainstreaming climate change adaptation. UNICEF will also maintain contingency agreements with several partners, as well as stocks of pre-positioned supplies, to respond to humanitarian situations as they arise.
Accountability to affected populations and efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse will be mainstreamed across sectors. UNICEF will strengthen reporting systems, survivor assistance and capacity building of staff and partners, focusing on emergency preparedness.
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.