Reports indicate that an exponential increase in violence in neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince (Ouest department), has forced almost 5,000 people to leave their homes in recent days. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) expressed their concern as violence has started to disrupt the provision of humanitarian aid. 

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

“In a matter of days, violence escalated dramatically in Port-au-Prince, particularly affecting neighbourhoods where the IRC collaborates with local organisations to provide vital services. In fact, our clients are already reporting challenges to access these services, including health care. A surge in gender-based violence has also been reported. 

“For more than a decade, Haitians have grappled with unmet essentials. Accessing medical care and protection, especially for women and girls facing gender-based violence, has been difficult due to overwhelmed public systems. Now, extreme violence is beginning to force our partners to suspend their regular work, including the operation of the mobile clinics we support. Our partners have also reported that, even if they are doing their best to continue providing services, clients have reached out to share that roadblocks from the gangs and controls established over determined areas impede their access to the services.

“At the IRC we continue calling for the international community to ensure enough support for the frontlines of the humanitarian response in Haiti, investing in targeted interventions led by local organisations.”

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 centered 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 health care for women and children, including sexual and reproductive care, as well as awareness actions on cholera prevention and treatment.