The COVID-19 outbreak could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti, endangering any years of hard-won progress in the Caribbean nation, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said on Friday.
In a statement, ECOSOC’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti called for immediate action to address health and humanitarian needs, alongside ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development and resilience to future shocks.
It asked the United Nations, Member States, donors, international financial institutions and others to urgently act together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate its humanitarian and socio-economic consequences.
Six million people already live below the poverty line in Haiti and 40% of the population is food insecure, it explained, adding that the 2020 hurricane season – which runs from June through November – could further compound existing challenges.
“Unless adequately managed, the COVID-19 health emergency and its socio-economic impact could become a humanitarian catastrophe, threatening to unravel some of the hard-won development and security gains achieved in the past decade and a half in Haiti”, it said.
The 17-member Ad Hoc Advisory Group, chaired by Canada and including Haiti, closely monitors the situation in Haiti and provides advice on its long-term development strategy.