UN Agency Says Over 300,000 Children Have Been Displaced By Gang Violence In Haiti

(NewsSpace.com) – The situation in Haiti has been spiraling out of control for years. In 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in the middle of the night. Following his death, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who had been appointed before the president’s death, took office.

However, gang violence escalated to the point where Henry was forced to resign this April. The country has been without a leader and more than half a million are homeless. According to a UN agency, more than half of that population consists of children.

UN Agency Report

On Tuesday, July 2, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a press release. In it, the agency details how there are now more than 300,000 homeless children in the country, a 60% increase from March. That equates to more than one child displaced every minute. The reason? Ongoing gang violence has caused many to uproot and move to safer grounds. There are nearly 600,000 homeless in the country at this point.

The agency’s executive director, Catherine Russell, said, “The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes is taking a devastating toll on children” who are lacking basic necessities and are living in squalor.

The homeless children, UNICEF points out, are at increased risk of falling victim to sexual exploitation, trafficking, family separation, and abuse. Additionally, since they are living in makeshift shelters with poor hygienic conditions they are more susceptible to illness, including cholera. Many have joined up with the local gangs in order to get the basic supplies — food, shelter, and clean water.

The island nation is also preparing for a strong hurricane season this year, which only adds to the direness of the situation. That is likely to exacerbate the healthcare woes the country is facing. Its facilities are ill-equipped to handle large numbers of cases.

Uptick in Violence

Armed groups have been able to take over the majority of the country because of political and economic turmoil. Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital, is overrun with gangs that control approximately 80% of the city. More than 2,500 people in the region have died since the beginning of 2024.

Earlier this year, gangs tried to take over airports to keep Henry from returning to the island after a visit to Kenya. The African nation has deployed hundreds of its citizens to help quell the violence. The mission has drawn a lot of skepticism, particularly in the face of past woes that included sexual assault allegations as well as the introduction of cholera to the island.

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