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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Hunger among children in Haiti shoots up 30 percent this year

The increase in armed violence in Haiti has in turn caused a worsening of hunger figures, to the point that this year there will be 30 percent more children affected by severe acute malnutrition, according to the UN Fund for Children (UNICEF), which fears that the figures will go from 87,500 to 115,600.

Approximately one in four Haitian children suffer from chronic malnutrition, which causes long-term physical and cognitive damage. The worst data is concentrated in the capital, Port-au-Prince, the main focus of violence in the last two years and where more than 600 people were murdered in April alone.

In the western part of the capital, the most affected by the activity of the armed groups, acute malnutrition already reaches 7.5 percent among children, according to UNICEF estimates.

The representative of this agency in Haiti, Bruno Maes, lamented that “more and more mothers and fathers can no longer provide adequate nutrition and care for their children, and cannot take them to health centers due to the increase in the terrible violence by armed groups”. If he adds to the current cholera outbreak, he has warned, “the result is that more children are severely emaciated more quickly, and will die if urgent action is not taken.”

In this sense, the organization has called for action and has demanded more funds, since the lack of financing can endanger the lives of more than 100,000 minors. UNICEF needs 17 million dollars (about 15.5 million euros) in the first phases of response to expand early detection of child wasting and has recalled that of the 210.3 million dollars (192.3 million euros) requested by 2023, barely 15 percent has been received.

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