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Migración | Por Redacción Espacinsular

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is sounding the alarm on the worsening humanitarian situation, and protection crisis after a month-long siege imposed on Port-au-Prince.

The surge of violence since February this year has reached unprecedented levels resulting in worsening food security and multiple displacements. As the country grapples with an unparalleled crisis, families continue to struggle to secure even the most basic necessities as desperation exacerbates. 

“While assistance provision was easier during the aftermath of earthquakes, today, it is an increasingly daunting task,” said, Philippe Branchat, head of IOM in Haiti. “Humanitarian staff, including our own, are facing unparalleled security challenges, balancing the imperative to assist others with the stark realities of personal risk and displacement.” 

The crisis extends its reach far beyond the confines of Port-au-Prince, affecting communities across Haiti and leaving over 360,000 people displaced nationwide, many multiple times over. For the nearly 100,000 internally displaced people living in sites, conditions are deplorable, amplifying the depths of suffering. Their needs include access to food, healthcare, water, psychological support, and hygiene facilities.  

Amidst the turmoil engulfing Haiti, its economy remains in distress. IOM psychosocial team have encountered cases of suicide tendencies which once was a taboo topic but is now becoming more commonly disclosed, especially among displaced populations. The lack of economic opportunities, coupled with a collapsing health system and shuttered schools, casts a shadow of despair, driving many to contemplate migration as their sole viable recourse. However, for most Haitians, the prospect of regular migration remains an insurmountable hurdle, leaving irregular migration as their only semblance of hope. 

Despite the worsening security situation, 13,000 migrants were forcibly returned to Haiti by neighboring countries in March, 46 per cent more than the previous month. Nearly 3,000 of them have received humanitarian assistance upon arrival, with an additional 1,200 migrants benefiting from psychosocial support.   

The arduous process of obtaining a passport can span months, if not more than a year leaving out existing avenues for regular migration, such as humanitarian visas and programs. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, IOM has long been committed to supporting Haitian authorities in bolstering their capacity to issue essential documentation despite the challenges underscoring IOM's unwavering dedication to facilitating safe and orderly migration pathways for all. 

IOM and partners are delivering assistance to the areas where it is most needed. In March, more than 1.5 million liters of water were delivered to sites hosting internally displaced people, reaching more than 23,500 people. Essential items such as blankets, water containers, solar lamps, and kitchen sets have been distributed to more than 18,000 people. 

IOM’s humanitarian response included providing assistance with basic medical services, psychosocial support onsite with group counselling and individual psychotherapy sessions. A free of charge hotline is also accessible to IDPs in need or wishing to raise issues. The Organization is also collecting and disseminating critical information on population movement to constantly assess the needs of the most vulnerable.