Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

UNICEF: More than 300 thousand children in Haiti have fled their homes due to armed gangs

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul4,2024

UNICEF: More than 300 thousand children in Haiti have fled their homes due to armed gangs

Photo: Children play in the courtyard of a shelter for families displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

More than 300,000 children in Haiti have been displaced since March of this year due to gang activity, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said.

Children make up more than half of the nearly 580,000 people who have lost their homes in the past four months. The surge in violence began in late February following a series of coordinated attacks on key government infrastructure that ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in April.

"The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes is resulting in devastating consequences for children– UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russellsaid. – Displaced children desperately need a safe and secure environment, as well as increased support and funding from the international community.”.

According to the UN, gangs now control at least 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and the main roads leading into the city. In the first three months of 2024, more than 2,500 people were killed or injured across the country.

Many children live in temporary shelters — including in schools, where the sanitary situation leaves much to be desired, which increases the risk of disease. School closures are also causing more children to drop out of school.

UNICEF said Haitian children are forced to join gangs to survive as they often lack access to food, health care, clean water and normal sanitary conditions. Displaced children and adolescents in Haiti are also at increased risk of sexualized violence, exploitation, abuse and family separation, according to the foundation.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Feiner met with Haiti's Prime Minister on Monday Harry Conil to discuss the first steps in establishing a UN-supported mission in Haiti. Feiner reminded Conil that the United States strongly supports the mission's accountability and oversight mechanisms.

Prepared by: Sergei Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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