Haiti: PAHO's Humanitarian Response amid Escalating Violence


Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 13 September 2023 (PAHO) - Amid a protracted and worsening security and humanitarian crisis, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is working closely with Haiti's Ministry of Health to address urgent healthcare needs among internally displaced populations in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. 

Recent surges in violence have forced thousands to flee their homes, adding to the nearly 200,000 Haitians displaced in the country, the majority of whom are concentrated in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). They have sought shelter and safety in improvised sites, often schools, where they face difficult conditions, including a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. These circumstances set the stage for worsening health among those affected and potential disease outbreaks.

Working in collaboration with other UN agencies, and thanks to the financial support from Canadian, German and European cooperation (ECHO) and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), PAHO is supporting the Ministry of Health to address immediate health needs and establish an early warning and alert system for possible outbreaks in IDP sites. Essential medical supplies and care are being provided, focusing on mental health and psychosocial support, especially for survivors of gender-based violence. 

The ongoing violence has not only impacted those displaced but also the Haitian population at large. The health system is also impacted, with several hospitals and clinics struggling to function due to the insecurity, which limits access to essential health services for countless Haitians. The unacceptable attacks on healthcare personnel and facilities, including the kidnapping of healthcare professionals, have put further strain on health personnel and Haiti's overall health system. 
In the coming days, PAHO aims to intensify its technical assistance in areas of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), urgent care, mental health, and risk communications. This intensification underscores PAHO's steadfast commitment to the Haitian people, especially in times of crisis.