Located in the Caribbean Sea, the Republic of Haiti has a total population of about 11 million, with approximately 1 million people living in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Families and children are at risk, especially as they have recently suffered through numerous natural disasters and crises.
In recent years, the country’s social and economic development has been hampered by unstable politics, fuel shortage, increased gang activity and violence. Haitians live in fear of kidnapping, suffering from poverty, hunger, and cholera. Children are most vulnerable to these harsh living conditions.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Haiti since 1984.
Approximately 60 per cent of Haitians live in poverty. This means people are likely to be malnourished, have limited education, and live in unsafe housing without clean drinking water, sanitation or electricity.
Children suffer from these circumstances, and many do not survive: Haiti has the highest infant mortality rates in the Americas. The situation is worst in rural areas where access to basic services is limited. Schools and hospitals are scarce, meaning children and patients have to travel far to get to them.
In the last years, cholera has been on the rise again in Haiti. Cholera is an infection causing acute diarrhea. If left untreated, people suffer from dehydration, and eventually, death. The disease is often caused by poor sanitation and lack of clean water and food. Since its appearance in 2010, cholera has killed nearly 10,000 people. Nowadays, children make up half of the cholera victims in Haiti. Gang violence, fuel shortage and road blockades make access to clean drinking water and health services almost impossible, thus increasing the risk of death.
Haiti has experienced many crises in recent years. Not only earthquakes have had disastrous consequences on inhabitants and infrastructure, but also political and social conflicts have taken their toll on Haitians. The most recent unrests involve fuel shortages and gang violence. There is a constant threat of kidnapping, violence and rape, with around 75 kidnappings happening every month. The lack of food supplies and unavailability of health care makes things worse. These living conditions have lasting repercussions for Haitians.