Diaspora

Concern deepens for women and girls in Haiti, says Plan International – Haiti – ReliefWeb

Haiti
Haiti, October 27, 2022 – Haiti is one of the hungriest countries on earth and women and girls are bearing the brunt of it says Plan International, a global child rights organisation.
Some 4.7 million people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity in a crisis driven by political violence and natural disasters in the Caribbean country. According to the latest research from the IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) 19,000 people are experiencing catastrophic hunger. The UN also says 100,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished in Haiti.
Since July 2022, Plan International has been responding to the hunger crisis in the south-east department of Haiti, says Anaëlle Canez, Plan International’s Programme Specialist. But the ongoing violence and fuel shortages in the country have made access difficult.
“Our main concern is focused on women and girls. Not only are we challenged with getting enough funds to provide food and other crucial elements, with the current crisis in the country it is almost impossible to move around. The fuel shortages and daily violence are affecting how and where we can work and urgent supplies are not getting where they should be. In the end it is the women and girls who pay the price,” she says.
Women and girls account for 70% of the world’s hungry and often end up eating least and last.
Recent research by Plan International on the impact of the hunger crisis on women and girls in communities in Haiti’s south-east, found evidence of discrimination against them. Including often receiving less food than men and boys. The research shows that on average, women in 87% of households receive a lower food ration than men, compared with 12% of women who receive the most. Girls in 58% of households receive a lower food ration than boys.
The hunger crisis has also forced some girls to engage in sexual activities in exchange for food or money. This has directly resulted in numerous cases of unwanted and early pregnancies according to the research.
On top of all these crises, a recent cholera outbreak has hit the country hard. The acute diarrhoeal infection is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with bacteria and can kill within hours if left untreated. The last major outbreak in Haiti was in 2010 when nearly 10,000 people died. It’s estimated there are globally 1.3 to 4 million cases and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths each year due to cholera. This year is especially concerning as the World Health Organization has said there’s a shortage of cholera vaccines due to a rise in global cases.
The Ministry of Health in Haiti has reported at least 207 confirmed cases and at least 41 deaths at this time of writing. Children younger than four constitute the majority of suspected cases.
Plan International is preparing work aligned with the government’s response to the outbreak, which will include the distribution of hygiene kits to communities and raising awareness in communities on preventative measures.
Plan International will also develop a radio spot for awareness raising in communities. And because children are the most affected, community awareness sessions with families of young children will promote the use of potable water for children to avoid diarrhoeal illnesses.
Populations who are food insecure are also more at risk to cholera, therefore work will include an evaluation of the possibility to repair community pumps that will allow an increase in access to safe drinking water.
As the hunger crisis also worsens, Plan International says it will continue to provide assistance to women, girls and their families too. An estimated 3.6 million US dollars in funding for more work in Haiti is needed and Plan International is hoping more help comes from the international community before things get any worse.
To date, Canez says 769 families have benefited from cash transfers for the purchase of food. The organisation has also been doing awareness sessions on healthy nutrition.
“In the coming weeks, Plan International expects to continue with awareness campaigns and the delivery of essential items to communities. The hope is to reach at least 77,300 households for the response within our areas of interventions,” says Canez.
For more information, case studies or interviews, please contact:
Nina Devries
Deployable Global Press Officer
Nina.devries@plan-international.org
Or
Juan Estrella
Regional Humanitarian Response Communication Officer
Juan.Estrella@plan-international.org
About Plan International
Plan International is an independent humanitarian and development organisation that promotes children’s rights and equality for girls.
We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often stifled by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it is girls who are most affected. Working together with girls, boys, young people, our employees and partners, we strive for a just world by addressing the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.
We support children’s rights from birth to adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for and respond to crises and adversity. We drive change in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and expertise. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for more than 80 years and now work in more than 75 countries.
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