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March 19, 2024

The ongoing gang violence in Haiti is having a devastating impact on women and girls as food insecurity reaches alarming levels, according to ActionAid. The UN estimates that over 4 million people are suffering from acute hunger, with 1.4 million of these facing emergency levels of hunger and requiring urgent assistance to survive.

Angeline Annesteus, Country Director of ActionAid Haiti, said:

“Amid the dire situation, ActionAid Haiti has seen women and girls further pushed to the brink of survival both in rural and peri-urban communities where we work. Women and girls are particularly affected by the increase in food insecurity. We have received reports of people skipping meals, selling their possessions for food, and facing heightened risks of exploitation just to put food on the table.

Everywhere you go, there are desperate mothers who have nothing to feed their children. This cannot be our future. The world needs to act now to stop the violence and provide urgent humanitarian assistance.”

Over the past two months, an escalation in violence has disrupted daily economic activity and led to gross violations of basic human rights, especially against women and girls, resulting in the displacement of thousands of families.

Sara, a mother of two based in Roseaux, Grand’Anse, said:

“Gang violence has left us destitute. Because of the blockade of the roads that cut Port-au-Prince off from the southern regions, I am no longer able to buy products in Grand’Anse to sell in Port-au-Prince. My small business collapsed, and now I must use other coping mechanisms, like harvesting unripe crops, to survive.”

Lovena, a mother of two, said:

“Our lives are miserable. With the increase in food prices and the loss of my gardens due to drought, I often find myself with only a piece of bread and water to eat, and sometimes nothing at all in a day. The lack of access to food has severely affected the condition of my children, who suffer from malnutrition.”

On the back of rising malnutrition and insecurity, ActionAid is calling for an urgent cessation of all violence to pave the way for a return to the rule of law. Additionally, the international community urgently needs to increase humanitarian assistance to meet the basic needs of food, clean water, sanitation, and women’s hygiene.

Sara Almer, Humanitarian Director at ActionAid International, said:

“Haiti’s people are caught in a web of despair – juggling between trying to survive gang violence and providing food and other basic needs for their families. The country is faced with acute malnutrition that is estimated to affect nearly 277,000 children under the age of 5 between December 2023 and November 2024.

With immediate action and scaling up of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to enable organizations on the ground scaling up their work we can help alleviate this suffering and also support the vital work of women’s and young people’s organizations on the frontline of the crisis in addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality.”


For media requests, please emailJenna.Farineau@actionaid.orgor call/text 202-731-9593.

Spokespeople available:

  • Angeline Annesteus, Country Director of ActionAid Haiti
  • Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director of ActionAid USA
  • Sara Almer, Humanitarian Director at ActionAid International

About ActionAid    

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.   

Notes to the editor

ActionAid has been working in Haiti since 1997 in four (4) regions of the country, namely the Center, West, South-East, and GrandAnse. ActionAid’s programs are focused on empowering women through economic activities and agricultural work, with a focus on agroecology to help communities address food insecurity while adapting to the impacts of the climate crisis. ActionAid is currently distributing seeds to 1,000 farmers, most of them women, to ensure food is available in the coming months.  
ActionAid Haiti and its partners have put in place programs to meet the needs of women, such as Near Home Garden, which supports agroecological alternatives for nutrition and income; agro-processing and mutual solidarity/credit initiatives that help women achieve economic independence.