The UN Special Representative for Haiti, Helen La Lime, told the organization’s Security Council on Monday that the Caribbean nation is beyond what she called a “humanitarian catastrophe,” caused by a combination of crises in the economic, security, and political sectors.
“We must not lose hope, but rather combine our efforts to find a pathway to a better tomorrow,” said Ms. La Lime, urging the Council to mobilize “urgent measures” to support Haitians. The speech came a few days before a draft resolution is expected to be issued by the U.S. and Mexico on ways to address these challenges.
Latin America’s poorest nation, Haiti has been in turmoil since the unsolved assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Since then, Haitian cities have been overtaken by gang violence, which has driven “more than 20,000 people from their homes,” UN data shows.
The UN also reports that soaring gender-based violence has been impacting up to 1.5 million Haitians, with rape “being used systematically.”
The country is also haunted by food insecurity, especially as increasing violence has “severely trimmed humanitarian access,” says Deputy Executive Director at the World Food Programme Valerie N. Guarnieri. It is reported that UN agency storehouses have lost supplies to feed 200,000 people after recent looting.
“We expect food security to further deteriorate this year,” Ms. Guarnieri said, projecting a record of up to 4.5 million Haitians to face acute malnutrition soon.