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13.03.2024 | Press Release

Haiti: Gang Violence, Hunger, and Displacement

Country Director Annalisa Lombardo Speaks From Beleaguered Capital, Port-au-Prince, on Escalating Violence in Haiti

Refugee camp in Haiti
Following the escalation of violence in Port-au-Prince, Welthungerhilfe is calling for an increase in funding for the humanitarian response plan for Haiti. Pictured: Refugee camp in Haiti, 2010. © Mirko Schernikau

Bonn/Berlin, March 12, 2024. “Welthungerhilfe is highly concerned by the escalating violence. Twenty of our 120 staff members in Port-au-Prince are still working despite the siege, but we are observing the situation very closely and are staying up to date on the volatile security situation in individual parts of the city.

“The color codes on the municipal map of Port-au-Prince can change quickly, with orange turning to red within days or even hours. The green area is shrinking, as is the number of open supermarkets and banks. Everybody is preparing for a siege and a kind of hibernation, and nobody knows how long it will last. It reminds me of the play by Samuel Beckett: We are waiting for Godot, but nobody knows how this Godot will look.

“The escalating violence, including of a sexualized and gender-based nature, is causing immense stress and trauma to women and girls. Of the 12 million residents, 7.8 million no longer have sufficient food, and nearly 277,000 children under five years of age are at risk of acute undernourishment. In addition to suffering disproportionate harm from poor nutrition, children have the greatest need for a safe learning environment. As education is also a key factor for future stability, it must be a priority to ensure that regular school operations continue; otherwise, these children will become part of a lost generation.

“Welthungerhilfe urges international donors and implementation partners to increase funding for the humanitarian response plan for Haiti so that humanitarian assistance efforts can be expanded rapidly and effectively. To achieve this, we also need the international community to adopt a shared roadmap for addressing the causes of the crisis, ensuring protection for the population, strengthening coordination measures, and making flexible funding mechanisms available.”

We are currently preparing to provide support for people in the hardest-hit parts of Port-au-Prince and are in discussions with national partner organizations. Private donations are urgently required to fund these efforts. According to the United Nations, USD 674 million in funding will be required for humanitarian aid in 2024; however, only two percent of this figure has been financed so far.

Our country director for Haiti, Annalisa Lombardo, is available for interview upon request in Port-au-Prince.

Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organizations in Germany and has no political or religious affiliations. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030.” Since its inception, it has provided funding of EUR 4.75 billion for more than 11,498 overseas projects in 72 countries. Welthungerhilfe follows the principle of supporting people in realizing their rights and sustainably improving their living conditions, which it implements with measures ranging from rapid disaster relief to rehabilitation to long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organizations.

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