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UNICEF: Haiti's Child Mortality Rate Highest in Hemisphere

The U.N. Children's Fund says children born in Haiti are more likely to die in early childhood than in any other country in the Western Hemisphere.

A report issued by UNICEF says Haiti has the highest death rates for children under five, with 117 children dying for every 1,000 births, despite accounting for only two percent of births in Latin America and the Caribbean,

The report says a major factor contributing to the high mortality rates is a lack of basic healthcare. UNICEF says just over half of all children are vaccinated against measles - a rate lower than sub-Saharan Africa.

Other factors cited by the report include environmental decay and violence.

UNICEF says about 3,000 people were killed during the Atlantic hurricane season in 2004, due to a lack of forest cover. It also says many children in Haiti's cities fall victim to homelessness and gang violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.