UN / UNICEF RUSSELL HAITI

29-Jun-2023 00:02:23
Briefing reporters on her recent trip to Haiti, Catherine Russell, UN Children’s Fund Executive Director, said there are now even more Haitian people in need than ever. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / UNICEF RUSSELL HAITI
TRT: 02:23
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 29 JUNE 2023, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

29 JUNE 2023, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Russell taking seat, briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“Upon my return to the country last week, it was with the knowledge that there are now even more Haitian people in need than ever before.”
4. Wide shot, speakers at podium
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“Today, an estimated 5.2 million people, or close to half of the entire population, require humanitarian assistance, and this includes nearly 3 million children. Critically, the institutions and services that children rely on are barely functional, resources are in short supply, and violent armed groups control over 60 percent of Haiti’s capital and parts of the country’s primary agricultural areas.”
6. Wide shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“Haitians and our team there tell me it’s never been worse. Unprecedented hunger and malnutrition, grinding poverty, a crippled economy, resurgence of cholera, and massive insecurity that creates a deadly downward spiral of violence – while, of course, flooding and earthquakes continue to remind us all just how vulnerable Haiti is to climate change and natural disasters.”
8. Wide shot, speakers at podium
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“UNICEF, and our UN and NGO partners, are deeply concerned about the thousands of children caught in the crossfire of violent clashes or recruited and used by the armed groups. In some communities, there are staggering levels of gender-based violence, and rape is being used as a weapon for intimidation and control.”
10. Wide shot, speakers, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“I was told that this is part of a new strategy by armed groups. They rape girls and women, and they burn their homes to make them more vulnerable and more easily controlled. Because if they break the women, then they’ve broken the foundation of the community.”
12. Med shot, journalists
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“The humanitarian system, including UNICEF, is delivering in Haiti and scaling up the response, but we are far from meeting the growing needs of the Haitian people.”
14. Med shot, journalists
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
"The situation of insecurity is truly unacceptable. Women and children are dying. Schools and public spaces, that should be safe spaces, are not. Collectively, the world is failing the Haitian people, and unless we take immediate action, it is hard to imagine a decent future for the population there.”
16. Wide shot, end of briefing
STORYLINE
Briefing reporters today (29 Jun) on her recent trip to Haiti, Catherine Russell, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, said there are now even more Haitian people in need than ever.

The head of UNICEF, recently named Principal Advocate for Haiti for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, called for far more support for highly vulnerable children and families who face rampant violence, deadly natural disasters, and a resurgence of cholera.

She said, “Haitians and our team there tell me it’s never been worse. Unprecedented hunger and malnutrition, grinding poverty, a crippled economy, resurgence of cholera, and massive insecurity that creates a deadly downward spiral of violence – while, of course, flooding and earthquakes continue to remind us all just how vulnerable Haiti is to climate change and natural disasters.”

Overall, 5.2 million people require urgent humanitarian support, including nearly 3 million children.

Some 4.9 million people are struggling to feed themselves, and over 115,000 children below five years old are projected to suffer from life-threatening malnutrition this year, a 30 percent spike since last year.

The healthcare system is near collapse, armed groups have attacked schools, and civilians are being terrorized and deprived of livelihoods.

In the capital’s most dangerous neighborhoods, women and children suffer staggering levels of sexual violence.

Russell said, “UNICEF, and our UN and NGO partners, are deeply concerned about the thousands of children caught in the crossfire of violent clashes or recruited and used by the armed groups. In some communities, there are staggering levels of gender-based violence, and rape is being used as a weapon for intimidation and control.”

She continued, “I was told that this is part of a new strategy by armed groups. They rape girls and women, and they burn their homes to make them more vulnerable and more easily controlled. Because if they break the women, then they’ve broken the foundation of the community.”

According to Russell, the humanitarian system is delivering in Haiti and scaling up the response, “but we are far from meeting the growing needs of the Haitian people.”

Despite the magnitude of needs, only 23 percent of the US$720 million required for the 2023 UN response has been funded.

Russell underscored the urgency of a more robust humanitarian response for those in most urgent need, the restoration of basic services, and longer-term development solutions.

She concluded, "The situation of insecurity is truly unacceptable. Women and children are dying. Schools and public spaces, that should be safe spaces, are not. Collectively, the world is failing the Haitian people, and unless we take immediate action, it is hard to imagine a decent future for the population there.”
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