Unicef has issued a warning about the alarming situation in Haiti, where more than 100,000 children are at risk of death due to severe malnutrition, exacerbated by increasing gang violence in the country. According to Unicef, armed violence has led to a 30% increase in the number of children with severe acute malnutrition compared to last year. It is estimated that in 2023, 115,600 children will suffer from this form of malnutrition, which is the most deadly and one of the main threats to their survival, compared to 87,500 affected in 2022.
Increased violence by armed groups has led to more parents being unable to provide medical care and adequate food for their children, and many are unable to take them to health centers. Bruno Maes, head of Unicef in the country, has denounced this situation, noting that the combination of violence and the current cholera outbreak is rapidly increasing the number of children suffering from severe malnutrition, and if urgent action is not taken, many of them will die.
Since the start of the cholera outbreak last October, more than 41,000 suspected cases have been reported, with nearly half of those affected being under the age of 14. In the face of this crisis, Unicef urgently requires US$17 million to detect cases of severe acute malnutrition and provide adequate care and feeding for affected children. Lack of funding could endanger the lives of more than 100,000 children at immediate risk of death, especially those in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
In addition to severe acute malnutrition, nearly one in four children in the country suffers from chronic malnutrition, which has long-term physical and cognitive consequences. The UN has reported that in April alone more than 600 people were killed in a new wave of extreme violence that affected several neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. The situation has prompted the UN to repeatedly call for the dispatch of an international intervention force to help the police deal with gang violence.
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