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  • “The situation has gone from bad to an utter nightmare for millions of children. Gangs are turning urban areas into battlefields” – Save the Children

PORT-AU-PRINCE, 14 March 2024 – More than one million children in Haiti – a quarter of the nation’s children – are living in areas controlled or under the influence of armed groups as violence spirals out of control, cutting families off from food and vital services, Save the Children said.

Gang groups now control about 90% of Port-au-Prince and other urban areas have turned into “battlefields”, with a state of emergency declared in the country until 3 April.

At least 200,000 children have been forced to flee their homes in the last two years, 96% due to violence or attacks.  In the past two weeks, the situation has worsened for children with many families forced from their homes and those trapped in the Port-au-Prince area struggling to cope as food supplies dwindle in the country.

Nearly 277,000 children aged under five in Haiti are facing malnutrition – about 40% of whom reside in the Port-au-Prince metro region – as gang violence obstructs critical food supplies, according to the latest numbers from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

Children living in areas impacted by gang violence are also at risk of armed recruitment and sexual violence. Critical health and social services are teetering on the edge of collapse in numerous departments of Haiti. Most health facilities are inaccessible due to the violence, leaving thousands of families and children without healthcare services.

Chantal Imbeault, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti, said:

“The situation in Haiti has gone from bad to an utter nightmare for millions of children in the country. Gangs are turning urban areas into battlefields. Families are living in constant fear, unable to leave their homes or access fresh food, clean water and urgent medical care. Children are unable to go to school and are at risk of recruitment by armed groups and sexual violence.

“Every day, hundreds of children across the country are being forced from their homes. Many of these children have been displaced multiple times and are now facing some of the most severe abuses and violations to their lives and wellbeing ever witnessed in Haiti's history.

“A record three million children urgently need humanitarian aid in Haiti this year. Yet, our staff and other aid agencies are struggling to distribute aid as the violence continues to escalate in parts of the country. This violence must come to an end, or children will continue to pay the heaviest price.”

All parties must do their utmost to protect children and abide by international humanitarian law. Save the Children is also calling on the international community to urgently increase humanitarian funding for the crisis in Haiti.

Save the Children is working around the clock to support children who are trapped in a deadly cycle of violence, poverty and hunger. The child right’s organisation is providing cash so families can buy food and other essentials, and delivering health and nutrition support, including treating children for malnutrition and providing nutrition counselling to caregivers. Save the Children is also supporting children to access water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, to continue learning and ensuring they are protected from harm, exploitation and abuse. Save the Children has been working in Haiti since 1978, in both urban and rural communities.  



·       According to the UN, 2.7 million people in Haiti are living in areas controlled or under the influence of armed groups. About 38% of the population in Haiti are children 17 and under.  

·       Reasons for displacement of IDP - 96% due to violence or attacks - Haiti - Mobility Tracking: Displacement situation in the districts of West, South-East, South, Nippes, Grande Anse, Centre and Artibonite, March 2024 - Haiti | ReliefWeb  

·       As of March 11, at least 362,000 people are currently displaced in the country, up from 314,000 at the end of 2023, according to the UN. About 55% of those displaced are children. This equals to an average of 470 children displaced every day so far in 2024.


For further enquiries please contact:

media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44(0)7831 650409