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HAITI: 600 children daily dodging gunfire as they flee Haitian capital in month of violence

Nearly 600 children a day on average have fled their homes in Port-au-Prince since early March due to gang violence, dodging heavy gunfire and witnessing dead bodies and rape, Save the Children said as the capital faces renewed attacks.
26 April 2024

Between 8 March and 9 April, about 95,000 people, including more than 19,300 children, fled their homes in and around the capital, according to the latest International Organization for Migration (IOM) data. Almost two-thirds of people who left Port-au-Prince in the past month have been displaced before, with over half of these having been forced to flee at least twice.   
Gang violence has escalated in the country this week, with reports of gangs calling for homes to be burned, putting more children at risk of displacement.
In the past two years, violence in Haiti has displaced at least 182,000 children, according to the IOM. However, the true number is likely to be much higher. In late February, gang violence started spiralling out of control, pushing the government to the brink of collapse, and disrupting humanitarian organisations from delivering aid in areas with active fighting.  
Chantal Sylvie Imbeault, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti, said:  

“Children are facing hell trying to escape urban areas controlled by gangs. They are risking their lives every day and witnessing things no one should - heavy gunfire, dead bodies, rape, and forced recruitment by armed groups.  
“Violence is escalating once again this week, with more destruction, displacement, and death likely to follow. Many of the children currently displaced have been forced from their homes at least once before, so any sense of safety they have is being ripped away from them again and again.  

“It is essential humanitarian organisations have unfettered access to deliver aid and save lives in areas affected by active fighting. The international community must also increase its funding to the crisis in Haiti, which is currently only 8% funded. Failure to do so will only result in the situation spilling into other areas of the country, exacerbating the crisis and endangering more lives.” 

Most children and families who have been displaced by gang violence are seeking refuge in displacement camps, schools, and churches. With the rainy season underway, displaced families living in overcrowded camps, especially children also facing hunger, are at a heightened risk of water-borne diseases such as like diarrhea and cholera.  
Hunger is at a record high, with one in five families in Port-au-Prince region one-step away from famine. With gang controlling more than 90% of the city, families are struggling to find and afford nutritious food. Since January, the price of a food basket in Port-au-Prince has soared by 21%.  
All parties must do their utmost to protect children and abide by international humanitarian law. Save the Children is also calling on the international community to urgently increase humanitarian funding for the crisis in Haiti. 
Save the Children is working tirelessly to support children caught in this deadly cycle of violence, poverty, and hunger. Since February, Save the Children has supported over 2,000 children in schools in the South and Grand'Anse regions, victims of the country's insecurity. 
The child right’s organisation is also providing cash so families can buy food and other essentials, and delivering health and nutrition support, including treating children for malnutrition, and providing nutrition counselling to caregivers. Save the Children has been working in Haiti since 1978, in both urban and rural communities.    


MEDIA CONTACT:  Jess Brennan on +61 421 334 918 or


  • Displacement in Haiti continues to rise. According to the IOM’s latest internal displacement overview of 3 March 2024, 362,551 people are internally displaced across Haiti of which 182,259 are children. The number displaced is up 15% compared to December and has more than doubled (up 133%) since November 2022.  

  • IOM Population Flow Monitoring, 8 March – 9 April 2024:

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