On 14 August, Haiti was rocked by an earthquake that has so far caused nearly 2,000 deaths, and injured almost 10,000 people, according to reports from the UN. These figures are expected to climb in the coming days as the country recovers from the earthquake, flooding and torrential rains brought by Tropical Depression Grace, and unrest following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last month.
The immediate impact of the earthquake has already been devastating to Haiti, significantly affecting shelter, infrastructure, access to water, sanitation and health services and food.
Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and we stand in solidarity with our national and international member organisations who are working with them in the humanitarian response at this difficult time.Rita Soares, Director of Learning and Impact as Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
In crisis situations, girls and women are often the most affected; not only during the immediate aftermath, but also in longer-term recovery. In times of insecurity and acute hardship, families may see child marriage as the only way to keep their daughters safe and to reduce pressure on their limited resources.
Many girls and women are exposed to violence – including sexual violence and exploitation – in humanitarian contexts. Non-profit organisations working in Latin America and the Caribbean have documented an increased risk of forced marriage and unions linking to sex trafficking networks in times of crisis.
In Haiti, 18% of girls are married before their 18th birthday. The earthquake in 2010 had devastating consequences that still affect the country today, and drove an increase in the rate of child, early and forced marriage and unions (CEFMU). Organisations like Girls Not Brides member Association Femmes Soleil d’Haiti are working tirelessly to ensure girls and adolescents can choose their own futures, a mission made even harder by the current situation and political instability.
These are some of the Girls Not Brides member organisations working in the region, calling for aid and solidarity in the response to the earthquake. You can support them and find out more:
In the time it has taken to read this article 22 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 3 seconds