Cap-Haïtien is the second largest city in the country, located in the north coast of Haiti. Around 200,000 people live in this city, which is the capital of the Nord Department, and has received the nickname ‘Paris of the Antilles’ for its many colonial buildings. However, due to its geographical location, the city is vulnerable to floods. The consequences of these floods disproportionaly impact the lives of the poorest. Haitians also live in fear and uncertainty due to the social unrest in the country.
Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Cap-Haïtien.
The country of Haiti is prone to natural disasters, with some of the most devastating ones in recent years being the earthquakes of 2010 and 2021, and the hurricane of 2016. The area of Cap-Haïtien specifically is vulnerable to floods. These disasters destroy lives, families, and houses, and poor households are often disproportionately exposed and less resilient to them. These recurring catastrophes are also a major constraint for families trying to escape poverty. 50% of households in Cap-Haïtien have been affected by floods at least once in recent years. Children are most vulnerable to the disasters, they are not able to go to school or receive proper health care. In the worst cases, they lose their homes and families.
In recent years, Haiti has been shaken by social unrest. Recent ones concern fuel shortages and gang violence. Due to political instability, the price of fuel has soared, and supplies are very low. This affects every layer of society, making it impossible for schools and hospitals to operate, and for people to move freely. Furthermore, around 200 gangs have been terrorizing the population. Physical and gender-based violence, road blockings, and threats of kidnapping, have left many Haitians scared of leaving their homes. Although the gangs are not as active in northern Haiti as they are in the south, people in Cap-Haïtien can still feel the impact of their violence.