Port-au-Prince, 15 April 2023 (TDI): The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise funds for the surging humanitarian crisis in Haiti. The UN, along with its partners, has called for $720 million to address the critical situation.

Haiti has long suffered from issues including gang violence, dire poverty, food shortages, and disease. These challenges have led to a situation where half of the country’s population now requires urgent humanitarian assistance.

Currently, the United Nations and its partners are seeking $720 million to supply lifesaving assistance to more than 3 million people in Haiti.

The fund appeal of this year has been recorded to surpass the previous highest appeal made following the 2010 earthquake. The amount requested this year is double the amount requested in 2022.

This reflects the mass-scale seriousness and urgency of the humanitarian crisis faced by Haiti. The number of people in need of assistance has also doubled over the past five years to 5.2 million.

The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, to be released in full on 19 April, envisions reaching 60 percent population, equal to 3.2 million, of people in need. Ulrika Richardson, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti stated that the Humanitarian response has come at a critical time.

She further stated, “With the situation in the country rapidly deteriorating, this year’s Plan will address the most immediate humanitarian and protection needs while strengthening people’s and institution’s resilience to natural shocks. At the same time, what the people of Haiti desperately want is peace and security, and we should all support efforts to that end.”

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The humanitarian needs in Haiti are exacerbated by gang violence, which is rampant across the country. According to a survey by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the 80 percent of the metropolitan area of Haiti’s capital is either controlled or under the influence of gangs.

Furthermore, the Haitians live under a constant climate of fear, especially in Port-au-Prince. Each day these people risk their lives trying to go to work, feed their families, or take their children to school.

The armed violence has impacted women and girls as well as boys. Heinous crimes such as Rape, including gang rape, and other forms of sexual violence are the order of the day. The armed gangs use tactics to terrorize the population including children too.

Several gangs recruit children for multiple purposes.

The UN and its partners are determined to safeguard humanitarian space in Haiti. The organization is expanding its access to reach the most vulnerable people, including in gang-controlled areas.

Funding for this year’s Humanitarian Response Plan will be critical in reaching the millions of people in need.