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Haiti’s humanitarian crisis continues

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Ulrika Richardson, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti

 — 5.2 million Haitians need humanitarian assistance and over 4.3 million face acute food insecurity

USA / HAITI – As Haiti faces a situation of “absolute brutal violence”, the deployment of a multi-national security support mission is awaited with hope, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the country said on Friday.

Ulrika Richardson, the deputy special representative of the secretary-general in Haiti, who is also the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, told journalists in Geneva that 5.2 million Haitians need humanitarian assistance and over 4.3 million face acute food insecurity – that’s a staggering two out of five people in a country which used to be self-sufficient in terms of food production.

Frustratingly, the UN’s humanitarian response plan for the country is only 33 percent funded as the year draws to a close, she said.

Gangs are in control of 80 percent of the capital Port-au-Prince and the violence has been spreading to the neighbouring Artibonite department – Haiti’s breadbasket.

Overall, there are some 300 armed gangs in the country, Richardson said, and 2023 has already seen 8,000 killings, lynchings, kidnappings and cases of brutal rape.

Country awaits support mission

The UN official stressed that most Haitians openly welcomed the expression of solidarity with their country in the form of Security Council resolution 2699 adopted last October to deploy a multinational security support mission to shore up Haiti’s National Police.

They are eagerly awaiting its arrival. 

The timing depended on a pending high court approval for the mission in Kenya, which had taken the lead and pledged 1,000 police officers to the new mission. 

Through a statement from his spokesperson, UN chief António Guterres said on Thursday that he looked forward to continued preparations for the deployment of the “urgently needed” mission and expressed concern over the “limited progress” in the inter-Haitian dialogue to restore the country’s democratic institutions.

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