UNICEF Sounds Alarm in Haiti: More Children Risk Malnutrition

A wave of armed gang violence in Haiti is exacerbating the problem of malnutrition in the country.

The alarm was raised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). It notes that a study of food security issues (IPC, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) in Haiti shows an alarming 19-percent increase in the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition. There are 1.64 million people facing severe food shortages. This increases the risk of wasting and malnutrition in children, especially in certain areas of the country, such as the department of Artibonite and the capital Port-au-Prince. Widespread violence is limiting food delivery and destroying the fragile health care system, jeopardizing the lives of more than 125,000 children.

“The impact of violence and instability in Haiti goes far beyond the risks associated with the violence itself. The situation is creating a health and nutrition crisis that could cost the lives of countless children,” commented UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Thousands of children have been pushed to the brink. Meanwhile, essential goods can be delivered, but on the condition that the violence stops and access to streets and hospitals is opened. Hunger is man-made. The Haitian people need to have basic security. It is also needed for the rescue services that the people rely on and for the humanitarian aid system.”