(ANSA) – ROME, AUGUST 05 – A resurgence of gang violence has blocked access to health services in some urban areas of Haiti, leaving one in 20 children living in Cité Soleil – a municipality of Port-au-Prince devastated by violence – you risk dying from severe acute malnutrition. This is the warning launched today by Unicef, according to which about 20% of children under 5 in Cité Soleil suffer from severe or moderate acute malnutrition, 5 percentage points above the WHO emergency threshold.
“We cannot sit idly by watching children suffering from malnutrition and its complications – commented Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Haiti – Thousands of children are at risk of dying and most of the clinics where they live are closed, preventing them from receive adequate health and nutrition assistance. Violence must stop in Cité Soleil so that malnourished children can receive the medical assistance they need to survive and grow. “
A new wave of violence has erupted since July 8, with rival gangs fighting fiercely in Cité Soleil, a town of 250,000 inhabitants. According to the United Nations, between 8 and 17 July 2022, over 471 people were killed, injured or missing. About 3,000 people fled their homes, including hundreds of unaccompanied children, while at least 140 homes were destroyed or burned.
This new wave of violence has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes. However, only a part of the population has left. Most of the population in Cité Soleil is trapped and living under siege as conflict rages on the streets. Children and families also struggle with lack of access to food and water.
Access to basic services such as health centers has already been drastically reduced in Cité Soleil where only 4% of the population uses public health centers and 64% to NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders. (HANDLE).