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.
- On 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. This further exacerbated an already challenging humanitarian situation, shaped by persistent political instability, socioeconomic crisis and rising food insecurity and malnutrition, gang-related insecurity and internal displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic, the expulsion of Haitian migrants from several countries in the Americas, and the Haitian-Dominican migration challenges.
- In response, UNICEF Haiti is supporting the Government and humanitarian partners to ensure access to and continuity of basic services, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health, nutrition, child protection and social protection services. In addition, UNICEF is facilitating disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness, as well as activities addressing violence against children, including gender-based violence and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
- UNICEF is requesting US$97 million to meet these humanitarian needs of Haitian children and their families. This includes residual needs for the earthquake response together with other urgent humanitarian response requirements.
Key planned results for 2022
327,823 children screened for wasting
519,902 children and women accessing health care
604,915 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
125,566 children receiving individual learning materials
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Humanitarian needs abound and persist after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck south-western Haiti on 14 August 2021. Earthquake impact needs assessments report more than 2,200 deaths, 12,000 people injured, and around 130,000 homes partially damaged or destroyed, leaving hundreds of thousands people homeless and in urgent need of assistance.
With 97 partially damaged or destroyed health systems in the hardest earthquake-hit departments, hospitals and clinics are facing challenges in keeping pace with increased life-saving needs, while ensuring continued access to essential health services, including maternal and child health, as a critical response priority. Access to safe WASH services and products and to awareness messages and behavior change approaches remains a significant need. At least 26,200 people remain displaced and sleeping in 68 shelters and makeshift settlements. With 89 water systems suffering extensive damage, these vulnerable populations are particularly exposed to the risk of waterborne diseases, acute respiratory infections and COVID-19.
The earthquake struck with Haiti still reeling from the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on 7 July 2021 and the escalation of gang violence affecting 1.5 million people and displacing 19,000 people since the end of 2020. Humanitarian access to some of the most affected areas remains a challenge, due to gang-related insecurity and damaged infrastructures.
The increased repatriation of Haitian migrants from across the Latin America and Caribbean region since mid-September 2021 has also been compounding humanitarian needs. More than 10,000 migrants have been returned, among them 2,000 children who are in need of access to basic services, including education, and have been exposed to child protection risks such as family separation, trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV).
The combined impact of natural hazard-related disasters, persistent political and socioeconomic crisis, gang-related insecurity, forced returns and internal displacement as well as COVID-19 is being felt by the most vulnerable. Prior to the earthquake, an estimated 4.4 million people in Haiti were food insecure and an estimated 217,000 children were suffering from moderate or severe wasting, and nearly 3 million people, including 1.2 million children and 400,000 pregnant women and adolescent girls, required emergency health care. The earthquake’s impacts and recent returns have exacerbated these vulnerabilities. Furthermore, over 3 million children have been unable to attend school for months at a time, due to political and security challenges and COVID-19 lockdowns over the past two years. In earthquake-affected areas, preliminary Ministry of Education assessments indicate extensive damage across 925 schools, affecting more than 300,000 children.
UNICEF will work with partners to ensure access to and continuity of essential health, nutrition, WASH, education, and child protection services, while strengthening disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness. Additionally, a strong focus on humanitarian cash transfers will be ensured, both within sectoral response to improve access to basic goods and services such as education, WASH, child protection, health and nutrition, and through the social protection system.
Following the immediate response to the earthquake, attention will focus on providing assistance and recovery support to the population in the three affected departments of Sud, Nippes and Grande Anse, while strengthening the response to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) victims of the armed gangs' activities in the capital city's metropolitan area, as well as to returning Haitian migrants.
UNICEF will support continued access to essential health care services, including immunization, maternal and child health. In earthquake-affected areas, support will continue for the resumption health care services in damaged or destroyed health centers, as well as strengthening health supply chain management.
UNICEF will support prevention and treatment of child wasting with screening and the provision of essential nutritional supplies, together with the support of good infant and young children feeding (IYCF) practices. UNICEF will work to improve coordination as the co-lead of the sector. A key focus will be put on strengthening end-user monitoring of supplies, information management, and supporting a SMART survey to obtain updated data on malnutrition for effective programming.
WASH interventions will focus on access to sufficient safe drinking water for vulnerable communities, while providing emergency sanitation solutions and awareness raising and behaviour change strategies around hygiene to prevent the risks and spread of waterborne and infectious diseases. The earthquake response will focus on rehabilitating damaged WASH facilities and promoting hygiene and raising awareness in health centers and schools.
UNICEF will promote a safe return to school through the provision of school supplies and access to distance learning programmes. Earthquake-affected areas will require sustained support for the establishment of temporary learning spaces and the rehabilitation of schools to provide a protective environment for school children.
UNICEF will support protection of children exposed to violence, including gender-based violence, exploitation and family separation. Specialized services and community-based structures will receive support to identify vulnerable children and provide adequate care, referrals and psychosocial support.
UNICEF will continue supporting sectoral and national humanitarian coordination for disaster preparedness and response, as lead/co-lead of the WASH, education and nutrition sectors and the child protection sub-sector. Pre-positioned supplies stocks will be maintained to respond to future humanitarian crises.
Gender equality, accountability to affected populations (AAP) and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) will be mainstreamed throughout the response.
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.