As events in Haiti continue to worsen, the SOS Children's Villages in the country still provide an environment of relative normality. However, the main challenge at the moment is food supplies, and the facilities have been requested to stock upon essential goods. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and SOS Kindergartens in Santo and Cap Haitien will remain closed as long as the situation stays critical. In order not to compromise the safety of the children, youth and mothers, they have been asked not to leave the premises of the village or the SOS Youth Facilities.
According to the director of SOS Children's Village Santo (located 15 kilometres from Port-au-Prince), also the children in the village feel the tension. The mothers and staff are doing their best to talk with the children and to calm them. Although there is no violence close to the village, the children are affected by the situation. According to BBC News World Edition (Friday, 27 February, 2004, 14:06 GMT) the rebels are reported to be less than 60 kilometres from the capital Port-au-Prince.
Communication with the SOS Children's Village in Cap Haitien is very difficult, but all are safe, and there have been no further reports of violence in the town. Cap Haitien was taken over by the rebels last weekend.
Due to the escalating violence, which has spread to other areas in the country, transportation is generally not available and risky. Banks, offices, shops, gas stations are closed, and the safety of people and property cannot be guaranteed.
Please also see the news from 24 February 2004.