Malnutrition Crisis Looms In Haiti Amid Rampant Violence – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

An alarming surge in armed violence in areas of Haiti is heightening the risk of a malnutrition crisis in the country, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday.

Findings from the recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis indicate an alarming 19 per cent increase in the number of children estimated to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Haiti this year.

Around 1.64 million people are facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity, (IPC Phase 4), which increases the risk of child wasting and malnutrition.

The ongoing armed violence across Artibonite department and the West department, which encompasses Port au Prince, has restricted aid delivery and severely weakened an already fragile healthcare system, posing an imminent threat to the lives of over 125,000 children at risk.

“The violence and instability in Haiti have consequences far beyond the risk of the violence itself”, said Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director.

The situation is creating a child health and nutrition crisis that could cost the lives of countless of children, she added.

‘Thousands of children on the brink’

“Thousands of children are on the brink, while life-saving supplies are ready to be delivered if violence stops and roads and hospitals are opened. This malnutrition crisis is entirely human made,” Ms. Russell said.

“Basic security is urgently needed for the people of Haiti, for the life-saving services they rely on, and for humanitarian workers to reach children and families in desperate need.”

Since January, the deteriorating security situation has continued to worsen the humanitarian crisis, with serious consequences for UNICEF’s ability to store, deliver and resupply aid.

Despite the highly volatile environment, UNICEF is doing all it can to protect families and provide life-saving support, including for those who are trapped and cut off from essential services.

The agency is calling for accelerated efforts by the international community to protect civilians, restore law and order and keep humanitarians safe; an immediate flexible funding boost; and protection for schools, hospitals and other key spaces for children.