Haiti: Escalating violence in the country is raising alarm at Doctors of the World - Doctors of the World

Haiti: Escalating violence in the country is raising alarm at Doctors of the World


An intensifying humanitarian and security crisis 


There are presently 5.5 million people who require humanitarian aid in Haiti – almost half the country’s population – and these needs are likely to considerably increase in the coming weeks. 

Recent coordinated attacks carried out by organized gangs on key infrastructures in Port-au-Prince have led to the release of thousands of prisoners. These attacks have prompted more than 15,000 people to flee the capital, fearful that either they or their loved ones will become the next victims of shootings, kidnappings or sexual assaults. 

Doctors of the World is concerned about the impact these dangerous and stressful situations will have on Haitians’ physical and mental health. Port-au-Prince’s roads have been blocked by makeshift barricades, meaning ambulances struggle to transport the injured to hospitals, and health professionals are unable to get to work. The healthcare system is on the verge of collapse: Hospitals have been looted and ransacked, and some have had to close their doors. All the while the number of injured increases. 

Amidst Haiti’s political chaos, we cannot forget that the humanitarian crisis is both glaring and alarming. Canada and the international community must take this into account in diplomatic efforts as well as Haiti’s future transitional government. The lives and futures of millions of people are at stake.”  – Manon Hourdin, International Operations and Strategic Development Director. 

The political, social and economic crises are exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Unable to relocate to several districts in the capital where confrontations are on the rise, many Haitians are no longer able to earn a living. Hunger levels are increasing for the 4.4 million Haitians facing acute food insecurity.

Women and girls – no longer able to meet their basic needs – are finding themselves forced to turn to sexual exploitation, putting them at even greater risk of abuse and early pregnancy. The erosion of health and sanitation systems, as well as problems with the supply of drinking water, increases the threat of falling victim to infectious diseases. 


The international community’s efforts are encouraging, but remain insufficient 


Doctors of the World applauds the Canadian government’s decision to provide financial support to Haiti and hopes it will be used to address humanitarian needs. Here are some numbers pertaining to Haiti’s humanitarian situation: 

  • More than 8,400 people were killed, injured and/or kidnapped because of gun and gang violence in 2023 (a 122% increase versus 2022).
  • Rape cases increased by 49% between January – August 2023 compared to the same eight-month period in 2022.
  • UNICEF believes 3 million children will need humanitarian aid in 2024, primarily due to food insecurity and a cholera resurgence. 


Doctors of the World [Canada] has been active in Haiti since its inception in 1996, implementing humanitarian and development projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Population and civil society. Its activities include strengthening healthcare institutions, training healthcare providers, sexual and reproductive rights and health, psychosocial support to frontline staff, and responding to emergencies such as epidemics, natural disasters, etc.