The International Rescue Committee (IRC) expressed concern after partner organisations in Haiti have been forced to interrupt the delivery of services due to a severe uptick in violence since 29 February, which has led to the declaration of  a 72-hour state of emergency and a curfew. 

Serge Dalexis, Head of Office for the IRC in Haiti, warned:

“Haiti has been enduring a protracted humanitarian crisis, and every few months, violence reaches new levels. In recent days, the conflict has escalated drastically, with rival gangs coordinating to extend their control over Port-au-Prince, and violent acts are occurring in broad daylight. Just last Thursday, around 15,000 people who were already in camps for internally displaced people were forced to leave again (according to data from IOM), being now in search of safety in new locations. We can only expect that the numbers will rise.

“The partner organisations with whom we have been working since December 2022 have been forced to temporarily pause the delivery of services. This is happening in a country where approximately half of the population requires aid to meet their most essential needs, including healthcare, support after experiencing gender-based violence, or even access to food.

"Violence has become an obstacle that humanitarian workers grapple with to ensure aid reaches those who need it the most. Another challenge, however, is the lack of sufficient funding to sustain humanitarian responses in Haiti. As violence grows, so does the number of new people who will need help to meet the most essential aspects of life. At the IRC, we urge the international community to provide adequate support for the frontlines of the humanitarian response in Haiti, investing in interventions implemented in collaboration with local organisations."

Haiti has been featured in the IRC’s 2024 Emergency Watchlist for the third time in a row, which is an assessment of the 20 countries at greatest risk of new or worsening humanitarian emergencies each year. In 2024, among other risks, the IRC forecasts that millions of Haitians will experience an increase in violence as criminal groups continue to strengthen. Additionally, food insecurity is expected to deepen, with approximately 44% of Haitians already facing crisis or worse levels. The collapse of the state and economic pressures will likely hinder critical services, such as medical care, given that hospitals lack staff and supplies.

In December 2022, the IRC launched a response to support Haitian NGOs working in Port-au-Prince. The IRC’s partners are known and well-established, with good community connections that enable access and successful operations. Currently, the IRC’s efforts with local partners are centred around gender-based violence prevention and response, providing case management and psychosocial support as well as material and cash-based aid to help women and girls meet immediate needs. The response also enables access to safe, quality and free healthcare for women and children, including sexual and reproductive care, as well as awareness actions on cholera prevention and treatment.