World Vision warns of grave impacts to children in Haiti resulting from escalating gang violence

Media Contact :

Brian P. Duss
Senior Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
m 202.679.1620


  • Over 5,000 deaths in Haiti in 2023 are attributed to gang activity
  • More than 15,000 people have been displaced since a surge in violence began on February 29
  • Insecurity and skyrocketing food prices will increase forced displacement and migration
World Vision Haiti

March 20, 2024 — Global humanitarian organization World Vision is sounding an alarm over increasing hunger, forced displacement, limited access to medical services, and other serious risks suffered by Haitian children following the rapid escalation of violence there in recent weeks.

Since February 29, the intensification of gang activity, including clashes with police in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, has exacerbated food insecurity and deepened precarious conditions in the country.

The World Food Program estimates that 8.2 million people in Haiti—nearly 3 in 4 of its 11.4 million inhabitants—are experiencing food insecurity. The violent actions of gangs, which now control vast areas of the capital, have resulted in a precipitous rise in the cost of basic goods. In some stores, for example, the price of eggs has increased by up to 100%.

“The restriction on free mobility, the closure of businesses, and the difficulties in the supply of products is exacerbating hunger in a country where food insecurity and malnutrition is already chronic,” said Joao Diniz, World Vision’s regional leader for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Children are the most affected; thousands have no food, several medical centers have closed due to insecurity, and too many [families] have been displaced due to violence.”

World Vision calls on the international community to ensure the protection of Haiti’s children in one of the most critical moments the country has faced. Likewise, it emphasizes the urgency of establishing a safe humanitarian corridor to provide vulnerable families with critical assistance, including food, water, and healthcare.

In addition to deepening hunger, the violent actions of gangs have exacerbated gender-based violence—especially abuse of girls, adolescents and women—and prevented thousands of children from accessing education due to the risk of traveling on the streets of the capital.

“Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1,000 schools have been closed because of the violence and because some schools are being used to house displaced people. This means that more than a half a million children are not able to go to school,” said Lesly Michaud, program director for World Vision in Haiti. “We are living in a country where 70% of the population is young. And when you are not offering any opportunity to the youth and then they are being exposed to violence, the main exit is mostly either migration or [a turn] to gang activities. We need to give young people opportunities.”

Just since February 29, more than 15,000 people have been forcibly displaced by gang violence, which left over 5,000 dead in 2023. The total number of displaced people in the country has now reached an estimated 362,000.

“Restoring safe conditions to provide humanitarian aid in Haiti is urgent. Failure to do so anticipates a deterioration in the living conditions of children and an increase in irregular migration flows of people fleeing extreme poverty, insecurity and hunger,” stated Diniz.

“We are also calling for prayer and for everyone to advocate [on behalf] of Haitian children,” added Michaud. “We want this next generation of children to see the international community responding to their concern, bringing hope that one day the situation will improve.”

World Vision has worked alongside families in Haiti since 1978 through long-term development programs as well as emergency relief in the wake of natural disasters including hurricanes and the devastating 2010 earthquake. In response to the current crisis, the organization is delivering essential humanitarian assistance including food, clean water, and psychosocial support to the most vulnerable children.

About World Vision:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit or follow on X, formerly known as Twitter, @WorldVisionUSA.

For further information on the response to the crisis in Haiti, please contact Brian P. Duss at [email protected] or 202.679.1620.